“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.”
Trevino’s study tested the effects of parabens on breast cancer cells from both Black and white women. Her team found parabens caused the cancer cells from Black women to grow, an effect not seen in the samples from white women.
“These results provide new data that parabens also cause harmful effects in breast cancer cells from Black women,” Treviño said.
This isn’t the first time researchers have found toxic chemicals in women’s hair care products. A 2018 study found that in 18 products, “including hot oil treatments, leave-in conditioners and hair relaxers, a total of 45 endocrine disrupters were found, with each product containing from four to 30 of the target chemicals. Eleven of the products contained seven chemicals prohibited in the European Union or regulated under California’s Proposition 65, the 1986 act enacted to help Californians protect themselves from exposure to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other harm.”
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