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Study links hair styling products to cancer risk

Mumford senior Jataya Benson said she never uses heat or straightening products because she prefers to be healthy and natural. “I know straighteners have chemicals that can fry your hair and your brain,” Benson said, “and besides, they wreck your curl pattern.” Photo by Daija Thomas.

Mumford senior Trinity Lowe doesn’t straighten her hair.

“I’m lazy, I don’t feel like it, and I know it’s better not to,” Lowe said. 

Lowe’s laziness could be keeping her safe. Many news sources have had reports recently about a study showing a possible link between hair straightening products and breast cancer. 

According to a story on, National Institute of Environmental Health researchers used data collected from nearly 50,000 women at risk for breast cancer. None of the women had cancer at the start of the study, but after eight years, 2,974 did have the disease. Of those women, a large enough number had used hair dye and straighteners to indicate a possible link. The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer. 

The study showed more African American women who used hair straighteners got cancer, but they were more likely to use that product. For hair dyes, African American women were also more likely to develop cancer. 

The study said other factors could have caused the cancers. 

Senior Mia Linsey wasn’t aware of the study and wasn’t happy to hear about it.

“I think it’s scary because a lot of people are doing it, including me, and I don't know if I’m going to get breast cancer,” Linsey said. 


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