Hair straightening products may greatly increase the risk of uterine cancer among people who use them frequently, according to a large study published recently.
“We estimated that 1.64% of women who never used hair straightening products would develop uterine cancer by age 70, while frequent users of such products had a risk of up to at 4.05%”, explained the coordinator studiedAlexandra White, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Safety (NIEHS).
“However, this information must also be put into context. Uterine cancer is a relatively rare type of cancer,” White added.
Even so, uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and rates are increasing, especially among black women.
The researchers monitored 33,947 women for 11 years
Researchers monitored 33,947 women of various races, ages 35 to 74, for about 11 years. During that time, 378 women developed cervical cancer.
After the scientists took other risk factors into account, the odds of uterine cancer were more than twice as high for women who used hair straightening products more than four times in the previous year.
Less frequent use of hair straightening products in the previous year was not associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer, but the difference was not statistically significant, meaning it could have been a fluke.
More research is needed
Previous studies have shown that hair straightening products contain so-called endocrine disrupting chemicals. The products have been associated in the past with an increased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
“These findings are the first epidemiological evidence of an association between the use of hair straightening products and uterine cancer. More research is needed to identify the specific chemicals that trigger this association,” White emphasized.
Also, the link between use of hair straightening products and uterine cancer did not differ by race in the study, according to The Guardian.