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Study of Hair Dye Finds No Association of Myeloma Risk in Women

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UAlbany researcher co-authors report in Occupational and Environmental Medicine's January issue

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



Woman combing her hair.

Study results showed that there was no association among women who used hair dyes and multiple myeloma.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 2, 2009) -- University at Albany Assistant Professor Erin Bell, Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health, has co-authored a study that found no association between hair coloring product use and multiple myeloma risk in women. The study, Use of Hair Colouring Products and Risk of Multiple Myeloma Among U.S. Women, contributes to the epidemiological research examining the potential impacts of hair dyes.

"The findings of this study are encouraging, especially since known carcinogens have been removed from hair dyes in recent years," said Bell.

The study, which appears in the January 2009 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, was a collaboration among researchers who are now at UAlbany's School of Public Health, the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University School of Medicine.

For the study, in-person interviews were conducted with women living in Connecticut and diagnosed with multiple myeloma. A second group of women without cancer were also interviewed.  Participants were asked to describe their history of hair dye use including hair dye type and color, duration and frequency of use per year. The analyses compared participants who reported ever using hair dye use to those who never used hair color. 

Results showed that there was no association among women who used hair dyes and multiple myeloma.  Additional analyses examining dye color, duration and frequency of use and whether or not hair dyes were used prior to 1980, when known carcinogens were removed from hair dyes, also showed no association with multiple myeloma.

UAlbany's School of Public Health serves as the academic anchor of the East Campus, the biotech hub of the university's life sciences research, which includes the Cancer Research Center, home to the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics and the Center for Functional Genomics.
Students and faculty at UAlbany's globally-oriented School of Public Health study the most profound health issues facing us today: the origins of disease such as cancer, the threat of bioterrorism, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and other emerging diseases, the lack of affordable and accessible health care for individuals and families, environmental hazards, substance abuse and social violence, maternal mortality in developing countries, the promises and threats of genetic engineering, and protecting food and water supplies.

Through its partnership with NYSDOH, the School offers students immediate access to internships at the Health Department, Albany Medical College, and a variety of other public and private health institutions throughout New York.

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