For the first time, a nationwide study has found a possible link between the use of chemical hair straighteners and uterine cancer.
Researchers at the National Institute of Health reported that people who used chemical hair-straightening products more than 4 times per year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer.
The study found that 4% of women who used hair-straightening chemicals at least every 3 months developed uterine cancer by age 70, compared to 1.6% of women who did not use hair treatments.
The study conclusions were based on data from more than 33,000 women. The researchers warned that the conclusions “could be more consequential for black women,” because more than 60% of women who reported using chemical hair straighteners or relaxers were black.
The problem is that chemicals like formaldehyde, metals, parabens and phthalates could be carcinogenic.
Some of these chemicals are known as “hormone disrupters” because they can mimic estrogen and other hormones in the body.
This could explain why previous studies have found that hair-straightening chemicals are linked to hormone-sensitive cancers, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer, according to the researchers.
The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022 — “Use of Straighteners and Other Hair Products and Incident Uterine Cancer”