British scientists are warning that popular hair dyes used by millions of women contain a number of chemicals linked to cancer.
According to Britain's
Daily Mail newspaper, the scientists also say that both home hair
coloring kits and dyes used at more expensive hair salons pose a growing
potential health risk.
The scientists, who recorded their findings in a
respected medical journal recently, say chemicals in permanent hair dyes may
react adversely with tobacco smoke and other airborne pollutants "to form one of
the most powerful cancer-causing compounds known to man," the Daily Mail
Researchers simply 'joined the
As more than one-third of women and one in 10 men regularly
color their hair, the researchers note it is "imperative" that the risk to their
health is adequately measured and recorded.
Not surprisingly, the
cosmetics industry is strongly disputing the scientists' findings, which came
from researchers at a Leeds-based company called Green Chemicals, who conducted
a review of chemistry surrounding hair dyes.
The scientists said all the
information regarding the threat was readily available; all they did, they say,
was "joined the dots" to make the cancer link.
In their findings, the
researchers identified chemicals called secondary amines, which are found in all
permanent hair dyes or are reformed in them. They are able to penetrate the skin
and remain in hair for weeks, months or even years after dyes are
Over time, the compounds could react with tobacco smoke, exhaust
fumes or other substances to form highly poisonous chemicals known as
Known to cause cancer, these substances have been banned
from use in other cosmetics, but the researchers argued that they are still able
to be generated through a simple chemical reaction.
In the past, hair dyes have been linked
to a host of cancers, including tumors of the breast, bladder, ovaries and the
brain, and have been known to play a role in causing leukemia.
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