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New study links hair products to breast cancer

New study links hair products to breast cancer

A new study reported this week claims that of the thousands of ingredients that go into hair products used to dye and straighten our hair, some might play a role in kick-starting breast cancer in women already at risk.

“Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent,” says one of the study authors, epidemiologist Alexandra White from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

In this case, the researchers went looking amongst a cohort of people who have breast cancer in the family – so ones who are already in a higher risk group.

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Among nearly 47,000 women with sisters diagnosed with breast cancer, researchers from NIEHS and the University of North Carolina identified a significant increase in incidences of the disease among those who dyed or straightened their hair frequently.

The possibility of such an association isn’t exactly new, having been scrutinised in the past. But, as is often the case with potential health risks, research hasn’t provided a clear answer – and any correlational effects are often quite small.

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