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Chemical hair products linked to breast cancer, according to study

(WJRT)
Published: Dec. 5, 2019 at 10:41 PM EST
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(12/05/19) - It's a question stylists face repeatedly over the years: can coloring or straightening your hair cause cancer?

A recent study says permanent hair dye and chemical straighteners may increase risk for breast cancer.

Even before hearing about this study, one woman says she has always insisted on all natural color products and refused to use any chemical products in her hair.

"My mother passed away from breast cancer, and that's why I don't use any type of chemical relaxer in my hair right now. There are lots of things that I'm reluctant to do because of the fact that it has not been unproven that their is a link between the chemicals and cancer, and it's just not worth it," Grand Blanc resident, Shannon Polk said.

The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer. Researchers used data from nearly 47,000 women over several years.

In general, women using permanent dye had a 9% higher risk of developing breast cancer.

The study also showed that Black women using permanent dye had a 45% higher risk of breast cancer, compared to those who skipped out on those products.

The more often people used the products, the risk of developing cancer also grew.

One stylist says she's been hearing about studies like this one for years, and the findings are usually inconsistent.

She says she does not think this will impact people who already are and have been treating their hair.

"They wouldn't stop because it's a vanity thing. You don't want to go grey too early because you have some people that started graying really early in life, in their 20's maybe, and they just don't want to deal with it. They feel like it makes them look old, and so they're going to color it. Either they'll do a rinse, they'll do a semi-permanent, they'll do a permanent. They're going to do something," Nora Griffin said. Griffin is a hair stylist at Park Place Hair Studio in Flint.

Scientists do say that although there is prior evidence to back up the study's findings, there still needs to be more research.

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