New study touts possible link between hair dyes and breast cancer


(NBC News) A new study is raising concerns about permanent hair dyes, and chemical straighteners used by millions of women. 

It found a possible link between those products and an increased risk for breast cancer. 

“Women who reported using permanent hair dye or chemical straighteners had a higher risk of developing breast cancer over an eight year follow up period,” says Alexandra White of the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences.
The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, looked at more than 46,000 women who were cancer-free themselves but had a sister the disease.

It found white women who used permanent hair dye had a seven percent increased breast cancer risk.  Black women had a 45 percent increased risk.
“One of our hypotheses is that products marketed to dye a black woman’s hair might be different than the products used for white women’s hair,” White says.  “It’s also possible that the application method or the amount of dye required might be influencing the difference.”
Women who used chemical straighteners had an 18 percent increased risk.  That jumped to 31 percent when the product was used every five to eight weeks.

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