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What is the evidence that personal hair dye use is associated with risk of bladder cancer?

Research on personal hair dye use and the risk of bladder cancer has produced conflicting results.

An analysis of data pooled from 17 studies of personal hair dye use found no evidence of an increased risk of bladder cancer.11 However, some recent studies have suggested an increased risk of bladder cancer associated with the use of permanent hair dyes,12–14 whereas other studies have not.15–19 Also, some but not all studies have suggested an increased risk of bladder cancer associated with the use of dark-colored dyes.

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Because studies have shown that professional hairdressers have an increased risk of bladder cancer that may be due to occupational exposure to hair dye,2,6 researchers will continue to study whether personal hair dye use is related to bladder cancer risk.

What is the evidence that personal hair dye use is associated with risks of other cancers?

Researchers who reviewed data from 14 studies of female breast cancer and hair dye use published between 1977 and 2002 found that dye users had no increase in the risk of breast cancer compared with nonusers.5

Research on hair dye use and the risks of other cancers is more limited. Although some studies have shown associations between hair dye use and the risk of developing or dying from specific cancers, these associations have not been seen in another study.20 Because of differences in study design, it has not been possible to pool the results of studies of most cancer types to increase the power to detect associations with hair dye use.

Selected References

1. Huncharek M, Kupelnick B. Personal use of hair dyes and the risk of bladder cancer: results of a meta-analysis. Public Health Reports 2005; 120(1):31–38.

2. Bolt HM, Golka K. The debate on carcinogenicity of permanent hair dyes: new insights. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 2007; 37(6):521–536.

3. de Sanjose S, Benavente Y, Nieters A, et al. Association between personal use of hair dyes and lymphoid neoplasms in Europe. American Journal of Epidemiology 2006; 164(1):47–55.

4. Hamann D, Yazar K, Hamann CR, Thyssen JP, Liden C. p-Phenylenediamine and other allergens in hair dye products in the United States: a consumer exposure study. Contact Dermatitis 2014; 70(4):213–218.

5. Takkouche B, Etminan M, Montes-Martinez A. Personal use of hair dyes and risk of cancer: a meta-analysis. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2005; 293(20):2516–2525.

6. Harling M, Schablon A, Schedlbauer G, Dulon M, Nienhaus A. Bladder cancer among hairdressers: a meta-analysis. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2010; 67(5):351–358.

7. International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Volume 99: Some Aromatic Amines, Organic Dyes, and Related Exposures. 2010. Accessed at http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol99/index.php

8. Zhang Y, de Sanjose S, Bracci PM, et al. Personal use of hair dye and the risk of certain subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. American Journal of Epidemiology 2008; 167(11):1321–1331.

9. Rauscher GH, Shore D, Sandler DP. Hair dye use and risk of adult acute leukemia. American Journal of Epidemiology 2004; 160(1):19–25.

10. Miligi L, Costantini AS, Benvenuti A, et al. Personal use of hair dyes and hematolymphopoietic malignancies. Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health 2005; 60(5):249–256.

11. Turati F, Pelucchi C, Galeone C, Decarli A, La Vecchia C. Personal hair dye use and bladder cancer: a meta-analysis. Annals of Epidemiology 2014; 24(2),151–159.

12. Andrew AS, Schned AR, Heaney JA, Karagas MR. Bladder cancer risk and personal hair dye use. International Journal of Cancer 2004; 109(4):581–586.

13. Gago-Dominguez M, Castelao JE, Yuan JM, Yu MC, Ross RK. Use of permanent hair dyes and bladder-cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer 2001; 91(4):575–579.

14. Koutros S, Silverman DT, Baris D, et al. Hair dye use and risk of bladder cancer in the New England bladder cancer study. International Journal of Cancer 2011; 129(12):2894-904.

15. Henley SJ, Thun MJ. Use of permanent hair dyes and bladder-cancer risk. International Journal of Cancer2001; 94(6):903–906. doi:10.1002/ijc.1547Exit Disclaimer

16. Kogevinas M, Fernandez F, Garcia-Closas M, et al. Hair dye use is not associated with risk for bladder cancer: evidence from a case-control study in Spain. European Journal of Cancer 2006; 42(10):1448–1454.

17. Lin J, Dinney CP, Grossman HB, Wu X. Personal permanent hair dye use is not associated with bladder cancer risk: evidence from a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 2006; 15(9):1746–1749.

18. Ros MM, Gago-Dominguez M, Aben KK, et al. Personal hair dye use and the risk of bladder cancer: a case-control study from The Netherlands. Cancer Causes and Control 2012; 23(7):1139–1148.

19. Hartge R, Hoover R, Altman DF, et al. Use of hair dyes and risk of bladder cancer. Cancer Research 1982; 42 (11):4784–4787.

20. Mendelsohn JB, Li QZ, Ji BT, et al. Personal use of hair dye and cancer risk in a prospective cohort of Chinese women. Cancer Science 2009; 100(6):1088-1091.

Source: National Cancer Institute.