By: Dr. E.C. Gordon
It is thought that around half of all women dye their hair, and it is also becoming increasingly common for men to use hair dye in order to conceal graying areas. However, many of the ingredients found in hair dye can be severely hazardous to the human body, and some of them are even connected with fatalities. These are the seven main chemicals that you should try to avoid if you are thinking of dying your hair.
P-phenylenediamine (or PPD) is a clear chemical that becomes colored when it is exposed to oxygen, and it helps hair dye to remain bright throughout multiple washings. However, it is probably the most concerning ingredient commonly found in hair dye, and it is found in up to 75% of such products. Firstly, scientists have discovered that it increases your likelihood of developing bladder cancer. While many forms of superficial bladder cancer are highly curable, other forms carry a high fatality rate. In addition, PPD is toxic to the immune system, nervous system, lungs, kidneys and liver. It is also linked to serious allergic reactions, including reactions that involve blisters and burns on the skin. There have even been several cases in which exposure caused breathing difficulties so severe that the users of hair dye did not survive the reaction. In less serious but nonetheless concerning cases, people frequently exposed to PPD have been known to develop long-term asthma.
Persulfates include potassium, sodium and ammonium sulfates, and they are common ingredients in strong bleach as well as in hair dye. Concentrations of 17% and above can irritate the skin, but many dyes actually contain concentrations that are around a staggeringly high 60%. Several studies have shown that in addition to causing painful skin problems, inhaling persulfates is also capable of causing asthma and lung damage. If you choose a hair dye that contains persulfates, make sure that you carefully wash the surrounding area after the dying is complete.
Resorcinol is an endocrine-disrupting chemical. This means that it can interfere with the normal production of bodily hormones, causing problematically high or low levels of certain hormones. Studies conducted on rats have shown that resorcinol can cause hypothyroidism, a condition that involves extreme fatigue, depression, widespread pain, and unwanted weight gain. There are also some documented cases in which pregnant women have miscarried after ingesting resorcinol. The European Union has declared resorcinol to be a harmful chemical that damages the environment and causes severe irritation to the eyes and skin.
Hydrogen peroxide is a corrosive chemical that is found in products that are designed to bleach the hair. Tests conducted on animals have revealed that it is toxic to the digestive system, the lungs, and the nervous system. It is also capable of damaging your DNA, which some researchers suspect will increase your likelihood of developing cancer. Although it is illegal to add hydrogen peroxide to personal care products in Canada and Japan, many countries unfortunately still allow the inclusion of this chemical in products like hair dye.
Ammonia is a potent skin irritant, but it can also cause respiratory difficulties and swollen or red eyes. It is particularly bad for you if you happen to suffer from asthma, as it tends to exacerbate any preexisting breathing problems. However, it is important to note that ammonia is sometimes used in place of PPD in hair dye, and it is preferable to PDD in spite of the aforementioned hazards. The Cosmetics Safety Database grades ammonia as deserving of a three out of ten on the toxicity scale.
Lead acetate is a dangerous chemical that is mainly found in hair dye that is intended to lead to gradual (rather than immediate) darkening. Lead is toxic to the brain and the nervous system.
4-ABP is commonly found in hair dye because it is a common byproduct that is produced during the process by which dye is made. Several studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between this chemical and an increased risk of developing cancer. Luckily for those of you who want to dye your hair a shade of brown, 4-ABP is seldom found in brown dye (but it is frequently found in blonde, red and black dye). Now that the FDA have learned that most hair dye ends up containing 4-ABP and that the chemical has carcinogenic properties, it is likely that positive action will be taken to eliminate this contaminant from personal care products.
Now that you are more informed about which ingredients should be avoided when picking out hair dye, you should be much less likely to suffer from serious health problems as a result of changing your hair color. With the exception of 4-ABP, all of the above chemicals should be clearly printed on the ingredient lists found on hair dye boxes. You should always read these lists very carefully, even if you think that the product is made by a particularly reputable company. Finally, it is also worth noting that dark colored hair dye is thought to carry the highest risk of health hazards.
article taken from : http://www.bryanmarcel.com/seven-dangerous-chemicals-commonly-found-in-hair-dye