Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 506–511 | Cite as

Racial/Ethnic Differences in Hormonally-Active Hair Product Use: A Plausible Risk Factor for Health Disparities

  • Tamarra James-ToddEmail author
  • Ruby Senie
  • Mary Beth Terry
Brief Communication


Estrogen and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that are associated with several health outcomes have been found in hair products. We evaluated the proportion, frequency, duration, and content of hair products in a racially/ethnically diverse population. We recruited n = 301 African-American, African-Caribbean, Hispanic, and white women from the New York metropolitan area. We collected data on hair oil, lotion, leave-in conditioner, root stimulator, perm, and other product use. Estrogen and EDC information was collected from commonly used hair products’ labels (used by >3% of population). African-American and African-Caribbean women were more likely to use all types of hair products compared to white women (P < 0.0001). Among hair product users, frequency varied significantly by race/ethnicity, but not duration. More African-Americans (49.4%) and African-Caribbeans (26.4%) used products containing placenta or EDCs compared to whites (7.7%). African-American and African-Caribbean women were more likely to be exposed to hormonally-active chemicals in hair products.


Personal care products African-American Endocrine disruptors 



Andrea Deierlein, Ghasi Phillips, Gonzalo Maldanado, Denise Esserman, Lina Titievsky, Teresa Janevic, Kellee White, Danella Hafeman, Sharon Schwartz, study and focus group participants. This project was funded by a pilot grant from The Jean Sindab African-American Breast Cancer Project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamarra James-Todd
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ruby Senie
    • 2
  • Mary Beth Terry
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Women’s Health, Department of Medicine, Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender BiologyBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyColumbia University Mailman School of Public HealthNew YorkUSA

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