Hair Straighteners are one of the most commonly used Chemicals in beauty salons. Increasing number of women wants to keep up with the fashion trends and are using it very frequently. But does it pave the way for Uterine Cancer?
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 US women for more than a decade. The study was published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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 age 70 was 1.64 per cent, the research found. While the rate for frequent users of straighteners was more than doubled at 4.05 per cent.
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.
“We don’t want to panic people,” said Alexandra White, head of the environment and cancer epidemiology group of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the study’s 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. It’s not an easy decision to not do this.”
The research appears to be the first epidemiological study to report a link with uterine cancer, but researchers cautioned that the findings need to be confirmed with more study. Hair straightener use has also been tied in previous studies to a higher risk of ovarian and breast cancers.
Rates of uterine cancer have been rising recently among all women in the United States, but Black women die of uterine cancer at twice the rate that white women do, according to a report from an expert panel in March.
The researchers noted that several chemicals that have been found in straighteners, such as parabens, bisphenol A, metals and formaldehyde, could play a role in the increased uterine cancer risk, and that some of those chemicals have endocrine-disrupting properties.