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Hair straightening chemicals linked to higher risk of endometrial cancer

Women who reported frequent use of hair straightening products, more than four times in a year, were more than twice as likely to go on to develop uterine cancer compared to those who did not use the products.  That’s the finding of an study of nearly 34,000 U.S. women ages 35 to 74.

Approximately 60% of the participants who reported using straighteners in the previous year were self-identified Black women. The researchers did not collect information on brands or ingredients in the hair products the women used.

“To our knowledge this is the first epidemiologic study that examined the relationship between straightener use and uterine cancer,” said Alexandra White, Ph.D., head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Environment and Cancer Epidemiology group and lead author on the new study.

“More research is needed to confirm these findings in different populations, to determine if hair products contribute to health disparities in uterine cancer, and to identify the specific chemicals that may be increasing the risk of cancers in women.”

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