The regular use of chemical hair relaxers is associated with a doubled risk of uterine cancer
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health followed 33,497 women over a period of eleven years to determine whether their use of various hair products, such as dyes, bleach, and perms, can influence their uterine cancer risk. It was found that the participants who reported frequent use of hair straightening products – more than four times in the previous year – were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who did not use such products. While the uterine cancer risk for women who have never used hair relaxers is 1.64%, that of those who chemically straighten their hair regularly is 4.05%. Roughly 60% of the women who reported using hair relaxers identified as Black, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
When uterine cancer is caused by using toxic hair relaxers, it usually has a latency of 5 years. The following subtypes of uterine cancer might deem a woman eligible to file a claim if she has been using chemical hair straightening products:
- endometrial cancer (type 1 - strong association, type 2 - unreliable association)
- uterine sarcoma
By 2030, the annual number of uterine cancer cases is expected to reach 122,000. The disease will eventually become the third most prevalent cancer among women, according to experts, who believe it will even displace colorectal cancer. Some of the chemicals in many popular brands of hair relaxers that have a strong association with uterine cancer are:
- bisphenol A
According to a study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, exposure to endocrine disruptor compounds at critical windows of early development, such as puberty, has the most dramatic impact on later life cancer development. Researchers evaluated the connection between uterine cancer and bisphenol A. They concluded that there was a correlation between the increase of bisphenol A level in the environment and the incidence of malignant tumors in humans. In a study where the ability of the chemical to impact human estrogen receptor binding and protein and cell proliferation was evaluated, bisphenol A was able to bind to the human uterine estrogen receptor.
Finally, cadmium, a heavy metal that might lurk in hair strengthening products, is also linked to uterine cancer development. Women are at greater risk of cadmium accumulation, as the cadmium levels in their blood and urine are significantly higher than in men due to their lower iron levels. Although it accumulates mostly in the lungs, kidneys, and liver, cadmium is also retained in the reproductive organs. Due to the endocrine-disrupting properties of the metal, it has been suggested that exposure may cause estrogen-dependent diseases such as uterine cancer. Interestingly, women with a lower body mass index (BMI) have a higher risk of developing this disease as a result of cadmium exposure.
There are various mechanisms by which cadmium exposure from hair relaxers could result in uterine cancer, such as:
- oxidative stress
- interference with DNA repair
- alterations of DNA methylation
Uterine cancer is more common in Black women, and they are twice as likely to die from it than white women. If you have been using chemical hair relaxers and came to struggle with uterine cancer, we strongly advise you to get in touch with our resourceful legal team. We can efficiently help you determine whether you are eligible to file a toxic hair relaxer claim to obtain financial compensation for your suffering. The process is simple and fast, requiring only a few documents.