Study: Parabens Found In Hair Products For Black Women Increase Growth Of Breast Cancer Cells

Hair Products For Black Women Contain Toxic Chemicals

While it’s no secret that harmful chemicals found in relaxers contribute to breast cancer in Black women, a new study suggests that parabens can help fuel cancer cells faster in Black women when compared to their white counterparts.

Conducted by Bench to Community Initiative, the study “determined parabens increased the growth of breast cancer cells in Black women but did not affect breast cancer cells in white women at the same rate,” Black Enterprise reports.

As you may know, parabens are used in products to preserve shelf life. They prevent bacteria, mold, and yeast in products. But the problem with parabens is that they enter the body through inhalation, absorption, and ingestion.

The information was presented by the Endocrine Society at an annual meeting in Atlanta on Monday.

Lindsey S. Treviño, lead researcher, stated in a press release:

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.

She continued to say that Black women have not been chosen to take part in studies to gain more information about the link between parabens and Black women.

 “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.”

Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in the Black community. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Black women have a 41% higher death rate, and women under 50 are twice as likely to die from breast cancer as white women.

Other observational studies have also analyzed the link between Black women and toxic hair products marketed towards them.

According to Boston University’s Black Women’s Health Study that follows 59,000 women who enrolled back in 1995, there wasn’t a link found between breast cancer and women who moderately used hair relaxers. But the study did suggest that “heavy use of lye-containing hair relaxers” is possibly related to a more aggressive form of breast cancer, The Insider reports.

Recent reports also suggest that many women within the Black community stopped relaxing their hair in the mid-2000’s. But, back in 2021, it was said that many were resorting back to the “creamy crack” because their hair was easier to maintain.

A popular YouTuber, Ashley White, spoke with Allure and explained why she started relaxing her hair again.

She stated:

It was just a struggle for me to figure out my hair and determine what it likes, what it needs, what products work with it.

She continued:

It was taking a lot of time and a lot of effort, or just more time and effort than I want to put into my hair, to just achieve a simple style.

As you know, the Black hair care industry was estimated to be around $2.5 billion in 2018. Mintel believes it may be worth more, as that number did not include hair accessories or wigs.

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