Statement by Linda Loretz, Ph.D., Chief Toxicologist, Personal Care Products Council on Potential Link between Hair Dye and Straighteners and Breast Cancer



Lisa Powers (202) 466-0489,
Jewel Jones (202) 454-0302,

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “A recent study published in the International Journal of Cancer reports on a possible association between hair dyes and straighteners and the risk of breast cancer. It is a fundamental principle of epidemiology that association is not the same as causation; one does not necessarily lead to the other.

“It is important to note that the study’s authors, Dale Sandler, Ph.D. and Alexandria White, Ph.D., researchers at the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), urged caution when interpreting the study results. They state, ‘we are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman’s risk.’ The authors went on to say, ‘researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent.’

“The majority of the cohort studied were non-Hispanic white, well educated, and economically well off. Women recruited for the study were at higher risk for breast cancer.  While these women had no personal history of breast cancer, they had at least one sister who had breast cancer. Therefore, the conclusions of this study cannot necessarily be applied to the broader population. Clearly, further research is needed.

“The links in the study between hair dyes/straighteners and breast cancer are weak, and no association was seen between longer term use of permanent hair dye and breast cancer, regardless of duration of use.

“Hair dyes are one of the most thoroughly studied consumer products on the market. As with all cosmetics and personal care products, companies are required to substantiate the safety of hair dyes and straighteners and individual ingredients before marketing to consumers, and the labeling of those products must be truthful and not misleading.

“Consumers have a right to know the facts about the products and ingredients they use, however, they also have a right to understand. The Personal Care Products Council shares safety information on our science and safety website,”


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Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is the leading national trade association representing global cosmetics and personal care products companies. Founded in 1894, PCPC’s approximately 600 member companies manufacture, distribute and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on and trust every day – from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance – personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.