According to a new study conducted by scientist from the National Institute of Health, the use of permanent hair dye and straighteners could be linked to breast cancer in women, and black women who use those products are more at risk of developing the disease.
The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer on Wednesday (Dec. 4), used data from more than 46,000 women.
“Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent,” said corresponding author Alexandra White, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Environment and Cancer Epidemiology Group. “In our study, we see a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use, and the effect is stronger in African American women, particularly those who are frequent users. ”
Women who regularly used permanent dyes in the year before enrolling in the study were “9% more likely to develop breast cancer” than those who did not use hair dyes, researches found.
The study also concluded, that black women participants who used permeant hair dyes every five to eight weeks, were 60% more likely to develop breast cancer, compared to an 8% risk for white women. On another note, temporary and semi-permanent hair dyes resulted in little to no increase in the risk of breast cancer.
Researches found that women who use chemical hair straighteners every five to eight weeks were around 30% more likely to develop breast cancer. While no change was found between black and white women in the risk level, the use of hair straighteners were more popular among the black women.
Despite the findings, Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch, who co-authored the study, pointed out that various factors can contribute to breast cancer.
“We are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman’s risk,” said Sandler. “While it is too early to make a firm recommendation, avoiding these chemicals might be one more thing women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer.”