Hair Straighteners May Pose a Small Risk for Uterine Cancer, Study Finds
A national study suggests a link to this particular cancer among women who reported frequent use of the chemical products.
Women who use chemical hair straighteners frequently could have a higher risk of developing uterine cancer than women who have never used the products, according to new findings from a national study that has followed nearly 34,000 U.S. women for more than a decade.
The study did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between hair straighteners and cancer of the uterus, a form of reproductive cancer that has been increasing in incidence among women in recent years, especially among Black women.
For women in the study who had never used hair straighteners, the risk of developing uterine cancer by the age of 70 was 1.64 percent, the research found, while the rate for frequent users of straighteners was more than doubled at 4.05 percent.
While the increased risk was found among women from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, Black women might be disproportionately affected: Sixty percent of participants who reported using hair straighteners self-identified as Black women, according to the study.
It defined frequent use as more than four times in the previous year, and included any personal use, whether women applied products themselves or had the straighteners applied by others.
We dont want to panic people, said Alexandra White, head of the environment and cancer epidemiology group of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (N.I.E.H.S.) and the studys lead author. One could make a decision to reduce this chemical exposure, but we also want to acknowledge that there is a lot of pressure on women, especially Black women, to have straight hair. Its not an easy decision to not do this.