When analyzing the effects of parabens samples were collected and tested. The study found that black women were more likely to buy products with parabens in them.
Furthermore, it was also found that fewer paraben-free products were marketed to black women such as hair creams, relaxers, and stylers which contained the most parabens. This was different for white women who got more paraben-free options sold to them.
Lead researcher Lindsey.S.Trevino, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Health Equities and Department of Population Science at City of Hope said:
One reason for the higher risk of breast cancer may be exposure to harmful chemicals called endocrine chemicals in hair and personal care products. These chemicals mimic the effects of hormones on the body
Parabens interfere with the normal activity of the endocrine system. These endocrine disruptor chemicals mimic the hormone estrogen and act as disruptors of its normal production. This causes an imbalance in the system and increases the chances of getting breast cancer.
This new research has raised a lot of concern. It has been known from multiple research studies that indicated a considerable disparity in risk of cancer between black women and white women. Yet aware of other contributing factors to this data, researchers did not know why black women were the group most affected by breast cancer.
Approximately one in eight American women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Under the age of 40, black women are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to develop breast cancer.
In the study, community activists, scientists, breast cancer survivors, and hair stylists were brought together to study the correlation between chemicals in black hair products and breast cancer.
A Boston University study also found evidence that heavy use of lye-conditioning hair relaxers may be associated with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
According to the Breast cancer Research Foundation, black women are 41% more likely to die than white women from breast cancer. Black women are also highly susceptible to aggressive breast cancer.
A 2018 study showed that 72% of hair products contained parabens and 84% of detected chemicals were not listed in the ingredients. These products used by black women contained high concentrations of toxic chemicals.
Why does this matter? Researchers can now link the reason why black women are more affected by breast cancer as products containing paraben are marketed directly to them.
With this information, we now have an understanding of the potential health hazards marketing has had on the black hair care industry based on the products being consumed by black women.
Black hair care is a billion-dollar industry and with this new data, it is evident more needs to be done to market safer and more effective paraben-free products for black women.