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Why being a hairdresser makes your bladder cancer risk higher (And why you should be worried even if you're not)

by , 19 June 2014

A recent study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine raises the alarm for bladder cancer in people regularly exposed to hair dye and perming chemicals.

Let's take a closer look…

Study reveals: Carcinogens in hair products could increase your risk for cancer of the bladder 

In the past, studies have shown that hairdressers have a significantly higher risk of getting cancer of the bladder. Researchers believe this is because they’re regularly exposed to the aromatic amines in hair dyes and perming chemicals.

In the 70s, 89% of hair dyes contained these carcinogens. But legislation forced hair dye companies to restrict these carcinogens in their products. As a result, they were phased out.

At least that’s what was supposed to happen.

Now new studies in the US, Turkey and Sweden show that products containing aromatic amines are still carcinogenic.

In a Swedish study, researchers analysed blood samples from 295 hairdressers, 32 users of hair dyes and 60 people who hadn’t used hair dyes in the past year.

The results showed the hairdressers’ blood contained higher levels toluidines – known carcinogens.

In a Turkish study, researchers discovered toluidines can be as much as 100 times stronger in dark yellow hair dyes and up to 500 times stronger in black dyes!

So how does that effect you?
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Avoid these ‘pleasant smelling’ carcinogens to help prevent cancer of the bladder

The researchers didn’t compare products, so it’s possible that toluidine levels vary between products. Those studies still need to happen.

But until then, given this information, limit your use of aromatic hair dyes and perming products. They could be cancer-causing hair products.
When you (and your hairdresser) do use them, prevent bladder problems by always using latex gloves when handling hair dyes and perming products.

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