Hair dye chemicals linked to cancer

Hair dyes, which include home hair colouring kits and those used at pricey salons, are linked to deadly cancer-causing chemicals, warn scientists.

Hair dye has previously been tied to tumours of the breast, bladder, ovaries, brain and leukaemia. Increasing numbers of users are becoming allergic to their contents, sometimes with fatal results.

Chemicals in permanent hair dyes can react with tobacco smoke and other pollutants to create one of the most powerful cancer-causing compounds, the journal Materials reports.

With over a third of women and one in 10 men regularly colouring their hair, researchers say it is “imperative” that the risk to health is quantified.

However, the cosmetics industry has strongly disputed the claim, the Daily Mail reports.
The warning comes from scientists at Green Chemicals, a Leeds-based company that conducted a review of the chemistry surrounding hair dye.

In 2009, the Daily Mail reported that women who use hair dyes more than nine times a year have a 60 percent greater risk of contracting blood cancer. A year later the European Commission banned 22 hair dyes which put long-term users at risk of bladder cancer.

Chemicals called secondary amines, present either in all permanent hair dyes or formed in them, can penetrate skin and stay on the hair for weeks, months or even years after the dye is applied.

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