Clear Warnings Needed: “Hair Dye Cancer Risk Stokes Fear In Black Women”

“Permanent hair dye increases a black woman’s risk of breast cancer by 45% and the more they’re used, the greater the risk, as products believed to contain more dangerous chemicals”

“HARLEM — Priscilla Graves is a hairstylist with 15 years’ experience straightening and coloring black women’s hair. She has endured bouts of dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing from applying potent chemical straighteners, and regularly deals with distraught clients suffering alopecia and painful blisters after using dyes and lotions specifically marketed to African Americans.

“I try to find out online what’s in the products, but the government should be doing more to keep us safe and keep dangerous chemicals out of cosmetics,” said Graves, 34, at a salon in Harlem. “There should be clear warnings on the labels, we need more information.”

The risks are very real. A new landmark study that tracked almost 47,000 American women over eight years has found that using permanent hair dye increases a black woman’s risk of breast cancer by 45%, compared to an increased risk of 7% in white women.”

Nina Lakhani reports for the Guardian January 9, 2020.