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Hair Dye Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), an organization that’s part of NIH, conducted a study using data responses from 46,709 women. In the study, researchers found that women who had regularly used permanent hair dyes within the last year were 9 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not use these products. The researchers did not find any significant increases in risks of developing breast cancer for women who used temporary or semi-permanent dyes. The study revealed that women who have their hair done in salons are at lower risks. This hair dye and breast cancer link primarily affect women who regularly use store-bought permanent hair dye.


Hair Straighteners Linked to Breast Cancer Risk

The NIEHS study also revealed links between using chemical hair straighteners and increased risks of breast cancer. Researchers found that women who used chemical hair straighteners at least every five to eight weeks were nearly 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. Links between hair straightener use and breast cancer development were generally consistent between both African American women and white women. However, the study revealed that straightener use was more prevalent among African American women. These hair straighteners and breast cancer links only apply to chemical products.


Large-Scale Study, Diverse Sample Group

The possible link between permanent hair products and increased risks of breast cancer has been hypothesized for a long time, but research has generally proved inconsistent with research done in small sample groups. The NIEHS study was able to provide data from a large sample size with a diverse group of women. Of the 46,709 women enrolled, all were between the ages of 35 and 74 and came from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. None of the women had a personal breast cancer history, but they all had a sister diagnosed. The average follow-up window was 8.3 years.


Demographics & Potential Public Health Impact

NIEHS researchers found demographic discrepancies in those most affected by potential breast cancer risks from permanent hair products. The authors of the study wrote that their research highlighted “potential differences in associations by ethnicity.” They noted that these findings could potentially hold a substantial impact on public health.

The study revealed that using permanent hair dyes every five to eight weeks increased the risk of developing breast cancer by 60 percent for African American women. The risk of white women developing breast cancer with the same usage increased by 8 percent. Researchers said that hair products typically marketed to African American women often have higher concentrations of estrogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds.

Researchers were also able to factor in variables including socioeconomic status, reproductive history, and menopausal status. Participants in the study who used hair dye were often younger, less educated, more likely to have used oral contraceptives, and more likely to be current smokers. African American women, postmenopausal women, and women with fewer children were less likely to use permanent dyes.


Decreasing Risks of Hair Products and Breast Cancer

Authors and co-authors of the study noted that results should be replicated in other studies and that it is unlikely that one single factor solely contributes to women’s breast cancer risk. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is less common than skin cancer.

The average lifetime risk for developing breast cancer for women in the United States is 13 percent.

However, avoiding permanent hair dyes and straighteners could help women reduce their risks of breast cancer. Doctors recommend that users exercise caution when using these products at home, using gloves, and following the package’s instructions and safety warnings. Those who fall into high-risk groups or who are particularly worried can look into alternatives such as using temporary dyes or going to a salon.

Breast cancer risks can be elevated by several factors, including permanent hair straighteners and dyes. Medical professionals advise that all women have regular mammogram screenings. Research has also proven that leading a healthy lifestyle with a low-fat diet and regular exercise reduces risks for developing breast cancer.


Do I Qualify to Participate in a Hair Dye Breast Cancer Lawsuit?

If you used a permanent hair dye or a permanent hair straightener and have a documented diagnosis of breast cancer, contact TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. TorHoerman Law’s toxic tort lawsuit team is currently investigating hair dye and breast cancer, hair straighteners, and breast cancer and whether a hair dye breast cancer lawsuit or hair straightener breast cancer lawsuit is viable.


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