Hair dye use linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancers

 
By Tom Nordlie • Published: October 15th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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You might think the only risk from hair dyes would be telltale roots.

But according to a review article in the American Journal of Epidemiology, there’s a link between hair dyes and some forms of cancer.

They’re called non-Hodgkin lymphomas, tumors that originate in white blood cells. They strike roughly two-hundred out of every one-million Americans.

Some chemicals in hair dyes… especially dyes produced before 1980… are believed to promote these tumors.

To explore this possibility, the authors analyzed four studies involving about forty-five-hundred non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients and fifty-eight-hundred healthy control subjects.

Three-quarters of the women patients and almost as many women controls had used hair dye.

About ten percent of male cancer patients and controls reported using dye.

All participants completed questionnaires about their past hair-dye use, including the colors, dates of use and whether the dyes were temporary or permanent.

The results showed hair dye didn’t increase men’s risk.

But women who began dying their hair before 1980 had a thirty percent greater chance of suffering non-Hodgkin lymphoma, compared with controls.

For women who began dying their hair in 1980 or later, there was a thirty percent greater risk, but only for those who used nonpermanent dark-colored dye.

So, does this mean every woman who ever dyed her hair should worry?

No. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are rare.

But if you’re concerned, check with your doctorto determine if you’re really at elevated risk, or if your tresses are causing unwarranted stresses.