Black Hair Products May Be Increasing Risk Of Breast Cancer: Here's How

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A chemical found in many hair care products for Black women might be increasing their susceptibility to breast cancer, a new study reveals.

According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, chemicals used to stop mold and bacteria from producing in beauty products known as parabens can trigger the growth of breast cancer cells. Higher concentrations of parabens were found in Black women because of the hair products that are marketed to the community, the study reports.

“One reason for the higher risk of breast cancer may be exposure to harmful chemicals called endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair and personal care products. These chemicals mimic the effects of hormones on the body,” Lindsey S. Treviño, the study’s lead researcher, said in a statement.

Paraben-free products are also less likely to be marketed to African American women. However, Treviño noted that the linkage between parabens and breast cancer in Black women remains underresearched.

“Black women are more likely to buy and use hair products with these types of chemicals, but we do not have a lot of data about how parabens may increase breast cancer risk in Black women,” Treviño said. “This is because Black women have not been picked to take part in most research studies looking at this link. Also, studies to test this link have only used breast cancer cell lines from white women."

The Breast Cancer Prevention Partners study was conducted with Bench to Community Initiative (BCI) which aims to reduce Black women's exposure to dangerous chemicals in Black beauty products.

According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the breast cancer death rate is 41 percent higher for Black women.

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