Studies show that chemical in Black hair products can increase cancer risk

Studies show that chemical in Black hair products can increase cancer risk
Image source: Shutterstock.com/ @Prostock-studio

A recent study indicates that hair and beauty products marketed to Black women contain toxic chemicals that are not only linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, but can also fuel the spread of cancer cells in Black women compared to those of White women.

On June 13, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta analyzed the effect parabens had on breast cancer cells in Black and White women. Parabens are a group of chemicals that keep mold and bacteria from growing in beauty products in order to prolong shelf lives.


According to the research of the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, parabens in humans can mimic hormone estrogen, fueling dangerous cell growth.

The study was conducted by the Bench to Community Initiative, which brings together community activists, scientists, breast cancer survivors, and hair stylists to study the correlation between chemicals in Black hair products and breast cancer.


Boston University’s Black Women’s Health Study also found evidence that heavy use of lye-conditioning hair relaxers could be associated with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

According to the Breast cancer Research Foundation, Black women are 41 percent more likely to die from breast cancer, and those under 50 are more likely to die from breast cancer than White women.

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