Black women who use permanent hair dye are 60 per cent more likely to develop cancer than those who do not, a study published in The International Journal of Cancer has revealed.
The study did not find the same likelihood in white women and attributed this difference in ethnicity to the manner in which the dyes are manufactured. The hair products, the authors wrote, contained substances that interfered with the way hormones acted in the body and in turn caused birth defects and growth of cancerous tumours.
“Products used predominantly by black women may contain more hormonally active compounds,” they said.
Also implicated in causing breast cancer was straighteners, and this had a 30 per cent increase in developing cancer for women of all races. However, black women were more likely to use hair straighteners as their hair is coarser.
The link between cancer and the dyes, the authors said, was weak due to the number of women surveyed, but they expressed concern.