What to know about hair-straightening chemicals and uterine cancer risk

Some experts say they will suggest women start using the hair-care products less often after a new study found a link with frequent use and a rare cancer

New research has raised questions about chemical hair straighteners and cancer risk. (Igor Alecsander/iStock)

A startling new study has found an association between hair-straightening chemicals and uterine cancer, leaving many women who use the products with questions about the safety of the popular hair-care routine.

The research, published Monday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, tracked thousands of American women for more than a decade and found an association between the use of hair-straightening chemicals and an increased risk of developing uterine cancer, which is rare but has been steadily rising across the country. In the study, women who used hair straighteners more than four times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer than those who did not use them at all.

The findings, reported by the National Institutes of Health, are viewed as preliminary, and more study is needed before specific product advice is available. We spoke with the study researchers as well as other experts about how people who use hair straighteners should react to the news.