Hair Dye & Health Concerns

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Are you willing to risk your health in order to be blonde?

Millions of women use hair dye regularly in order to cover strands of gray or just revamp their appearance. But within that bottle of dye could be unseen dangers that can affect your health and your baby's health if you are pregnant. Hairdressers who work with hair dye could also be at risk.

  1. Bladder Cancer

    • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) evaluated twelve studies conducted between 1977 and 2006 to determine if hair dye increases a person's risk of bladder cancer. The NCI found no connection. However, researchers have not abandoned the idea that a connection exists, and studies have been published since 2006 that do point to a correlation. For example, an article published in the "International Journal of Epidemiology" in 2009 asserts that hairdressers have a higher risk of bladder, lung, and larynx cancer due to the carcinogens in hair dye and other salon products.

      As far as consumers are concerned, the American Cancer Society and Cancer Research UK both agree that current research is incredibly inconsistent so it is not possible to tell whether a link between bladder cancer and hair dye truly exists. However, since both websites offer a list of precautionary measures for consumers.

    Pregnancy Complications

    • Mothers-to-be will find that the advice given by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) regarding hair dye is vague. The stance taken by the ACOG is that using chemical dyes while pregnant is probably safe. Not enough studies on the subject of hair dye and pregnancy complications have been done to reach a conclusive answer regarding safety. Marjorie Greenfield, M.D., asserts that some doctors prefer to err on the side of caution, allowing hair dye only after the first trimester is complete. Other doctors might be more strict and prohibit the use of hair dye until the baby is born.

    Allergic Reactions

    • According to an article in the "Daily Mail," countries like Germany, France, and Sweden have banned the chemical agent para-phenylenediamine in hair dye because it was associated with an influx of allergic reactions. However, the European Union and the United States both allow this substance to be included in hair dyes. Andrew Weil, M.D., warns that the inclusion of para-phenylenediamine can cause reactions like unpleasant rashes around the eyes and ears, as well as dangerous facial swelling. In one extreme case reported by BBC News, a 38-year-old woman died after having an anaphylactic reaction to hair dye.

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  • Photo Credit natural blond hair. image by mdb from Fotolia.com

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