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Chemical hair straighteners linked to higher risk of uterine cancer for Black women

Pressure to adhere to societal beauty standards that glorify and prioritize hair textures and styles associated with white people have led some Black people to rely on harmful hair care products like chemical relaxers to look the part.

(Char Adams/ NBC News) — Women using chemical hair-straightening products are at a higher risk of uterine cancer than women who reported not using them, a new study by the National Institutes of Health found. Researchers noted that Black women may have a higher risk because they are more likely to use such products more frequently. 

A group of researchers with the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences looked at the hair care habits of more than 33,000 women and found that those who used chemical hair straightening products at least four times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer. 

Researchers said chemicals like parabens, phthalates and fragrances in hair care products disrupt the endocrine system, which helps regulate hormones. That could, in turn, raise the risk of uterine cancer, the most common cancer of the female reproductive system. (…)