16 November 2009

Hair dyes pose no cancer risk

Hair dyes pose no cancer risk, according to Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

Hair dyes pose no cancer risk, according to Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

The institute, which is based in Berlin and reports to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, noted that cancer-causing compounds had long been removed from hair dyes.

It added, however, that research was still needed on allergic reactions caused by hair dyes. In skin clinics in Europe, the BfR said, between 3% and 5% of the patients with contact allergies are sensitive to para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a common ingredient in permanent hair dye products that accelerates the dyeing process.

It is estimated that only about a third of these cases are due to hair dyes, however. Dyes containing PPD in textiles and leather, as well as PPD in henna tattoos, may be responsible for the rest, the BfR said.

Though the use of PPD in hair dyes is declining, the institute noted, some of the alternatives are "problematic." – (dpa/Sapa, November 2009)

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