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Maternal hair dye use and risk of neuroblastoma in offspring*


Objective: Studies have suggested an association between maternal hair dye use and elevated risk of childhood cancer, including neuroblastoma. We analyzed data from a large case–control study to investigate the relationship between maternal hair dye use around pregnancy and risk of neuroblastoma in offspring.

Methods: Cases were children with neuroblastoma diagnosed between 1992 and 1994 at hospitals in the United States and Canada participating in the Children’s Cancer Group or the Pediatric Oncology Group. Random-digit dialing was used to identify one matched control for each case. Information on hair dye use was gathered from telephone interviews of 538 case and 504 control mothers.

Results: Use of any hair dye in the month before and/or during pregnancy was associated with a moderately increased risk of neuroblastoma (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2–2.2). Temporary hair dye use (OR = 2.0, CI  = 1.1–3.7) was more strongly associated with neuroblastoma than use of permanent hair dye (OR = 1.4, CI  = 1.0–2.0).

Conclusion: Although the results of this study provide evidence of an association between maternal hair dye use and neuroblastoma, further research is necessary to evaluate effects by method of hair dye application, color, and chemical composition.

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Correspondence to Andrew F. Olshan.

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* Work on this study was performed at the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

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McCall, E.E., Olshan, A.F. & Daniels, J.L. Maternal hair dye use and risk of neuroblastoma in offspring*. Cancer Causes Control 16, 743–748 (2005).

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  • neuroblastoma
  • hair dyes
  • epidemiology
  • child
  • case–control studies.