Hair Dye, Straighteners May Be Linked to Breast Cancer: Study


The use of hair dye and hair straighteners may be associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, according to a new study.

Women who use permanent hair dye or straighteners, or applied straighteners to others, have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who don’t use those products, reports TODAY.

The study, which is based on data from 46,709 women and was published by the International Journal of Cancer, notes that hair dye and straightener “could play a role in breast carcinogenesis.”

The connection between these products and breast cancer diagnoses is especially evident in black women, whose use of dye is associated with 45% higher breast cancer risk, compared to a 7% higher risk in white women.

Among all participants, the use of straightener was associated with an 18% higher risk of breast cancer.

Despite the findings, the report should not be cause for high alarm, according to Alexandra White, lead author and investigator at the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

“We know that a lot of different factors influence a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, and these risks we see here, they are meaningful but they are small,” White told TODAY.

White advises paying attention to a wide number of factors when considering breast cancer risk.

“Women should take that into context with everything else in their life, including their physical activity and diet,” she said. “These are all factors we have to consider when we’re thinking about our long-term health risks.”

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have “reliable evidence” showing proof that hair products and cancer are connected.

But according to the study, hair products contain more than 5,000 chemicals. These products may damage DNA, and have the potential to enter the blood stream and circulate through body tissue, including in the breasts.

The American Cancer Society offers these safety tips for using hair dye:

--Wear gloves when applying dye.
--Don’t leave dye on your head any longer than specified by instructions.
--Rinse scalp thoroughly with water after use.
--Never mix different hair dye products, this can cause damage to your hair and scalp.