New study links hair dye to breast cancer

Is beauty worth the cost of your health? A new study finds a link between women who color their hair or get it chemically straightened and breast cancer. It may make us wonder why we do this in the first place.

Joanie Gabourel tells FOX 26, “Because we like our beauty products, you know, and stuff like that.“ Cassandra Montis agrees, saying, “My natural color, I just felt really washed out all the time, and I was blonde when I was younger, and I just feel it fits more.”

It’s alarming to hear that products women have been using for years that make them feel beautiful could be linked to breast cancer. The study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences and the National Institutes of Health, used data collected from over 46,000 women during an eight-year period. All these women have a sister with breast cancer but they were not diagnosed with breast cancer themselves.

The study found that of the women who admitted to dying their hair and/or using chemical straighteners there was an increase of those women being diagnosed with breast cancer. Women we spoke with weren’t surprised by this.

“Me, I guess not. All the chemicals in our food and all the things we use nowadays are really what causes a lot of those problems. I guess I just really didn’t think about it when it came to hair dye,” says Montis.

But it’s shocking when you break down the numbers. While there was an 8 percent increase of breast cancer in white women in the study, in African American women there was a 45 percent increase, and 60 percent if they used the products every eight weeks. Medical experts say before you ditch your hair routine, more research needs to be done.

"I really think that it's very premature. It just doesn't seem to resonate well with me that this is really something that's gonna dramatically change a woman's risk," Says Lauren Cassell, Chief of Breast Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. Once they know for sure women we spoke with would be willing to make the change.

As mentioned, more research needs to be done. The study never mentioned any specific chemicals in those products that were linked with breast cancer. However, they found little to no increase in the women who were using semi-permanent or temporary dyes.