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Hair Dyes And Straighteners Linked To Higher Cancer Risk, Especially For Black Women

Written By Michael Trigg.  Contributing Writer For The Telegraph Local

Seventy-five percent of black women are more likely to use chemical hair straighteners. Both white and black women who use this product are 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer recent studies have shown. More than 55 percent of women have reported using permanent hair dye. 75 percent of black women said they used chemical straighteners and hair dye. As researchers followed these women for an average of eight years, they found 2,794 cases of breast cancer.

An image of a black woman
Image Credit: Joseph Heller, Unsplash

The products black women use more frequently than women of other races contain more endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which may increase the cancer association.

Hair Straighteners:
A study of chemical hair straighteners does not describe a direct cause-and-effect relationship between these hair products and breast cancer. However, considering some of the components of these products contain potential carcinogens or chemicals that can interfere with hormones such as estrogen, there is a reason to believe the conclusions of the study should be bought more into the public awareness. Most of the chemicals used in the manufacture of hair straighteners are not listed on the product labels, making it nearly impossible for consumers to know exactly what they’re being exposed to.

Hair Dyes:
Researchers including Alejandra White of the Epidemiology Branch, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, have analyzed data from an ongoing study called the Sister Study, reviewing medical records and lifestyle surveys of 46,709 women ages 35 to 74. In eight years of research and studies, White found permanent hair dye use was associated with about a 7% higher risk of developing breast cancer among white women, whereas in black women that risk was about 45 percent higher. While earlier studies on hair dye and cancer risk included mostly white women, the new study includes 9% African American women.

An image of hair products on a shelf
Image Credit: Brandless, Unsplash.

Manufacturers, by not including the chemicals used in hair dye and hair straighteners maker it nearly impossible for consumers to know exactly what they’re being exposed to. The best advice if cancer is a family issue is: research, research, research. Scientists suspect the link between hair dyes and chemical straighteners and an increased association of breast cancer can be traced back to these toxic ingredients in hair products that women inhale and absorb through their skin.

Many of these products contain more than 5,000 chemicals, some of which are known to induce tumors in rats. The products black women use more frequently than women of other races contain more endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which may increase the cancer association. Ceramic hair straighteners are a good substitute for chemical products keeping in mind, one of the proteins in hair is called keratin.

Images of 3 women with straight hair
Image Credit; Suhyeon, Unsplash

Modern hair straighteners use ceramic plates to quickly get straighteners up to temperatures of 450 degrees Fahrenheit that can damage keratin. Human hair is tough but anything over 350 Fahrenheit (180°C) damages hair cuticles. Because the plates on ceramic irons are so smooth, they are less likely to create tangles when pulling the straighteners through the hair.

Michael Trigg
I am a dyed in the wool optimist though I do have fears for the future of my two young grandchildren and what life will be like for them in 20 years or so.
https://www.handshakeconsultants.com

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