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Psa: Dyes And Relaxers Linked To Higher Cancer Risk

Discussion in 'Hair Care Tips & Product Review Discussion' started by aribell, Dec 5, 2019.

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  1. aribell

    aribell formerly nicola.kirwan

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    Hair Dyes And Straighteners Linked To Higher Cancer Risk, Especially For Black Women

    December 4, 20195:59 PM ET
    Patti Neighmond

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    Srdjanpav/Getty Images

    Hair dyes and straighteners contain chemicals that are being studied for their health effects.

    New research raises concern about the safety of permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners, especially among African American women. The study was published Wednesday in the International Journal of Cancer.

    Previous research in animals has found links between certain chemicals in hair dye and straighteners and cancer. But findings from other human studies on the association between hair dyes and straighteners and cancer have been inconsistent. This large, prospective study provides firmer evidence of a link.

    Researchers analyzed data from an ongoing study called the Sister Study, looking at medical records and lifestyle surveys from 46,709 women between the ages of 35 and 74. Women answered questions about their use of hair dyes and straighteners. While earlier studies on hair dye and cancer risk included mostly white women, the new study includes 9% African American women.

    Researchers found that women who used permanent hair dye or chemical straighteners were at higher risk of developing breast cancer.


    "The association was notably higher among black women," says epidemiologist Alexandra White, study author and an investigator with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, who studies environmental risk factors for breast cancer.


    After eight years of follow-up, White found permanent hair dye use was associated with about a 7% higher risk of developing breast cancer among white women, "whereas in black women that risk was about 45 percent."

    That risk was even higher among black women who dyed their hair frequently, every one or two months.

    Researchers don't know which ingredients in the products might be of concern. The study did not look at the specific ingredients in the products women were using, only at whether they had used the product and whether they developed breast cancer.

    All women in the Sister Study were already at high risk for breast cancer since they had a sister who had breast cancer.

    Researchers note that in the United States, breast cancer incidence remains high for all women and appears to be increasing for non-Hispanic black women, who also are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive forms of the disease and more likely to die from it.

    Hair products contain more than 5,000 chemicals, according to researchers, including those with mutagenic and endocrine-disrupting properties such as aromatic amines, which can raise cancer risk, according to White.

    When it came to chemical straighteners, risk didn't vary by race. Both black and white women who used hair straighteners were about 30% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn't use the products. However, black women are more likely to use them, with about 75% of black women in the study reporting they straighten their hair.

    "For the chemical straighteners one of the big concerns there is formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen," says White. She notes that in the early 2000s just before the study began, Brazilian keratin treatments came on the market. This new treatment, commonly called a Brazilian blowout, contains formaldehyde, while earlier hair straightening treatments did not.

    The study findings should be understood in context, says Dr. Otis Brawley, a medical oncologist with Johns Hopkins University. The actual risk found for use of these hair treatments is quite low, he adds, especially compared with other known carcinogens like tobacco or radiation. "This is a very weak signal that these things might be causing cancer in the population," he says.

    Much more research is needed, he says, to know for sure how risky these products are. For example, long-term clinical trials with a control group and placebo would be more definitive, but this type of study "would be difficult if not impossible to do."

    "Sometimes science just cannot give us the answers that we want it to give us," says Brawley.

    In the meantime, Brawley says, there are certain lifestyle factors that have stronger evidence of a link to cancer and are more important for women to focus on. "It is for certain that obesity, consuming too many calories and lack of exercise is a risk factor for breast cancer, a definite risk factor," he says, while the findings of this study only add up to a "perhaps" when it comes to risk.

    Dr. Doris Browne, a medical oncologist and former president of the National Medical Association, suggests women start a conversation with their doctor about their risk for breast cancer.

    "I think it's important for women, particularly African American women, not to panic every time a study comes out," she says. "But it should raise questions for our primary care providers."

    For example, Browne suggests doctors and patients discuss the use of hair products like dyes and straighteners along with other aspects of a "social history" like alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity and living near environmental contaminants.

    According to Browne, the key lesson from this study for both doctors and patients is that "when we are aware of a new association (of breast cancer risk) we need to increase our surveillance" to include this potential risk factor in doctor-patient discussions.

    For both races, there was no increased risk for women who used semi-permanent or temporary dyes, the kind that eventually wash out with shampooing. To reduce risk, researcher White says women might want to choose these products instead.
     
  2. MzSwift

    MzSwift Texlaxed, loccing again

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    I read this article too, yesterday. Interesting study!

    I have to remember on which outlet I read it, but the study said that those percentages were in women who used the chemicals every 5-8 weeks. It also seems like the chemical straightener this article is referring to is BKT/formaldehyde-containing treatments. I've never used those but from reading those threads, sounds like ladies only use those every few months or so since the results last a while. Much less exposure than every 5-8 weeks reported in the study.

    Also, fortunately, more women are learning about stretching relaxers and color treatments. It seems like most of us on here wait at least 8 weeks between relaxers and around 3 months for BKTs.

    And I'll also highlight this from the posted article:

    The study findings should be understood in context, says Dr. Otis Brawley, a medical oncologist with Johns Hopkins University. The actual risk found for use of these hair treatments is quite low, he adds, especially compared with other known carcinogens like tobacco or radiation. "This is a very weak signal that these things might be causing cancer in the population," he says.

    IA with this.
     
  3. lilikoi

    lilikoi Well-Known Member

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    @MzSwift I appreciate that you took the time to highlight these points and provide some clarification. The news reports have been quite bombastic! Granted, certain chemical exposures can pose serious health risks, but the media has been running with just the headlines without explaining the context of these studies.

    I'm trying to get a hold of the original research paper so I can get the whole picture. In the meantime, I'll continue to cover these pesky grays with semi-permanent hair dye.

    ETA
    I really want to see what they mean by "chemical relaxers" I'm quite sure this is exclusively BKT (i.e. formaldehyde) and not lye based traditional relaxers as the active ingredient for those (NaOH or lye) is GRAS (generally regarded as safe) and I've never seen it associated with increased cancer risk. I mean, if it's safe enough to treat corn to make hominy and corn tortillas...:look:
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  4. Chicoro

    Chicoro From Shea Butter Hater to Shea Butter Caker!

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    Lye for hair products and lye for corn or food products are not the same:
    Hair lye is calcium hydroxide and corn or slaked lime is sodium hydroxide.


    I used to perform nixtamalization, or turning corn into hominy and make tortillas from scratch, using corn.
    The two lyes are not the same. One is Calcium hydroxide and the other is sodium hydroxide.

    Tortillas are made with slaked lime (cal in Spanish)
    Calcium hydroxide (traditionally called slaked lime) is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca(OH)2.

    Hair lye is sodium hydroxide.
    Sodium hydroxide is a highly caustic base and alkali that decomposes proteins at ordinary ambient temperatures and may cause severe chemical burns. It is highly soluble in water, and readily absorbs moisture and carbon dioxide from the air. It forms a series of hydrates NaOH·
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  5. Chicoro

    Chicoro From Shea Butter Hater to Shea Butter Caker!

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    Formaldehyde in our Shampoos:
    I tend to use Baby Shampoo
    (no formaldehyde )
    High Level Summary Information:
    But many of our shampoos have formaldehyde releasers. BABY shampoos tend not to have these ingredients. This is why I use baby shampoo and baby wash for my hair and body. The amount of formaldehyde is small. Even if the amount is small, I still think it's important to know so that you can make a conscious choice for yourself.

    The Detail Information:
    Many shampoos have a formaldehyde-releasing preservative called quaternium-15 . This chemical tends to not be found in baby shampoos.
    Source:
    https://slate.com/technology/2014/0...nson-removed-it-from-baby-shampoo-anyway.html

    Formaldehyde-releasers are commonly found in shampoos and cosmetics, despite decades of public concern. Is this concern backed by high-quality research, or a myth that hasn’t ever been busted?
    Source:
    https://www.dandruffdeconstructed.com/formaldehyde-free-dandruff-shampoos/

    In this article, we’ll review how to identify formaldehyde-releasers, why they are used in shampoos, and the potential risks.

    What are formaldehyde-releasers?
    Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, more commonly referred to as ‘formaldehyde-releasers’, help to prevent microbial growth. They are routinely added to cosmetics to slowly release formaldehyde over time, preventing anything nasty from growing. There are over 40 formaldehyde-releasers, and countless branded derivatives, but the most common are [1]:

    • Quaternium-15
    • DMDM Hydantoin
    • Ureas (imidazolidinyl, or diazolidinyl)
    • Benzylhemiformal
    Unfortunately, there is no quick way to identify them, as there is no universal naming system.

    Typically a formaldehyde-releaser will be one of the last ingredients on the label, as their concentrations are limited by regulatory bodies. The choice of which agent a cosmetic company decides to use is strongly dependent on the pH of the product, although factors such as the other ingredients are a consideration.

    How do they work?
    Not all formaldehyde-releasers work through the same mechanism, although there are two broad categories. Firstly, a formaldehyde-releaser can be synthesized directly from formaldehyde, and so still contain residues – an example of this would be some of the ureas. The second mechanism is a chemical that decomposes to produce formaldehyde over time – an example being quaternium-15, which decomposes in acidic conditions [2].

    The exact mechanism isn’t particularly important (and the chemistry is outside the scope of this review!), but they all have one thing in common: they release formaldehyde at a constant rate. Formaldehyde or ‘methanal’ is a strong antimicrobial, and so helps to extend the shelf-life of shampoos [3].
     
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  6. secretdiamond

    secretdiamond Divorcee

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    I'm glad research is being done on this, as millions of women use chemicals in their hair in some shape or fashion.

    However, this right here significantly devalues this study for me:

    "Researchers don't know which ingredients in the products might be of concern. The study did not look at the specific ingredients in the products women were using, only at whether they had used the product and whether they developed breast cancer."

    How anyone in research can read this and run with these weak..at best...results is beyond me. Actually, like someone said, to sensationalize in the media.

    As is widely known, correlation does not equal causation. And even saying that this is correlation, based on the study design is being generous.

    It's like saying they looked at whether these women ate chicken and also developed breast cancer. Now, boom, chicken is linked to breast cancer.

    Now, they may be on to something here (formaldehyde can contribute to development of cancerous cells, although this study lumped all dyes and straighteners together), however, this doesn't show me anything.
     
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