Risk of cancer among hairdressers and related workers: A meta-analysis

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
International Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 9.18). 09/2009; 38(6):1512-31. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyp283
Source: PubMed


Hairdressers and allied occupations represent a large and fast growing group of professionals. The fact that these professionals are chronically exposed to a large number of chemicals present in their work environment, including potential carcinogens contained in hair dyes, makes it necessary to carry out a systematic evaluation of the risk of cancer in this group.
We retrieved studies by systematically searching Medline and other computerized databases, and by manually examining the references of the original articles and monographs retrieved. We also contacted international researchers working on this or similar topics to complete our search. We included 247 studies reporting relative risk (RR) estimates of hairdresser occupation and cancer of different sites.
Study-specific RRs were weighted by the inverse of their variance to obtain fixed and random effects pooled estimates. The pooled RR of occupational exposure as a hairdresser was 1.27 (95% CI 1.15-1.41) for lung cancer, 1.52 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11-2.08] for larynx cancer, 1.30 (95% CI 1.20-1.42) for bladder cancer and 1.62 (95% CI 1.22-2.14) for multiple myeloma. Data for other anatomic sites showed increases of smaller magnitude. The results restricted to those studies carried out before the ban of two major carcinogens from hair dyes in the mid-1970s were similar to the general results.
Hairdressers have a higher risk of cancer than the general population. Improvement of the ventilation system in the hairdresser salons and implementation of hygiene measures aimed at mitigating exposure to potential carcinogens at work may reduce the risk.

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Available from: Agustín Montes, Jan 05, 2015
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    • "An IARC Working Group recently concluded that a modest excess risk of ovarian cancer appeared to be linked to the occupation of hairdresser and related occupations, but the lack of adjustment for potential confounders did not allow for confounding to be ruled out [92]. A recent meta-analysis of 10 studies, published between 1977 and 2003 on ovarian cancer among hairdressers and related occupations, concluded that there was a small excess risk of about 16% [93]. An excess risk of the same magnitude was also reported by a recent record-linkage study [51]. "
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    • "Occupational exposure to hair dyes has been associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer [1, 2]. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concludes that hairdressers and barbers are “probably” at greater risk of bladder cancer because of their exposure to hair dyes [3]. "
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    • "MOCA and ortho-toluidine act as mutagens causing bladder cancer in a similar fashion to 4-aminobiphenyl by creating metabolites, which form adducts with DNA [45] [55]. An association between aromatic amines within hair dyes and bladder cancer has been found in multiple epidemiologic studies [56] [57]. Similar to tobacco smoking, the risk for developing cancer may be dependent on gene– environment interactions. "
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