For decades, women have used chemical straightening products on their hair. Now, studies show that the use of these products may lead to an increased risk for uterine cancers, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to propose a ban on hair relaxers that emit formaldehyde.
A study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health published last year found women who use chemical hair straightening products were almost twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who didn’t use these products. In response, the FDA is considering a ban on hair-straightening products that contain or emit formaldehyde, a carcinogen in many of these formulas.
Further research is needed to prove these products are what’s causing the cancer, the study says. But Roger Giese, professor of chemistry and biomedical science and director of the Environmental Cancer Research Program at Northeastern University, says these early results are enough to prompt concern.