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Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Mar 1;175(5):432-40. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr351. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Hair relaxer use and risk of uterine leiomyomata in African-American women.

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  • 1Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University, Massachusetts 02215, USA. lwise@bu.edu

Abstract

Hair relaxers are used by millions of black women, possibly exposing them to various chemicals through scalp lesions and burns. In the Black Women's Health Study, the authors assessed hair relaxer use in relation to uterine leiomyomata incidence. In 1997, participants reported on hair relaxer use (age at first use, frequency, duration, number of burns, and type of formulation). From 1997 to 2009, 23,580 premenopausal women were followed for incident uterine leiomyomata. Multivariable Cox regression was used to estimate incidence rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals. During 199,991 person-years, 7,146 cases of uterine leiomyomata were reported as confirmed by ultrasound (n = 4,630) or surgery (n = 2,516). The incidence rate ratio comparing ever with never use of relaxers was 1.17 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06, 1.30). Positive trends were observed for frequency of use (P(trend) < 0.001), duration of use (P(trend) = 0.015), and number of burns (P(trend) < 0.001). Among long-term users (≥10 years), the incidence rate ratios for frequency of use categories 3-4, 5-6, and ≥7 versus 1-2 times/year were 1.04 (95% CI: 0.92, 1.19), 1.12 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.27), and 1.15 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.31), respectively (P(trend) = 0.002). Risk was unrelated to age at first use or type of formulation. These findings raise the hypothesis that hair relaxer use increases uterine leiomyomata risk.

PMID:
22234483
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3282879
Free PMC Article
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