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Hair dye link to cancer

31st March 2008

Recent research into the effects of hair dyes on people with regular exposure to them has concluded that there is a link to an increased incidence of bladder cancer.


A team at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in the French city of Lyon reviewed the available evidence around the use of hair-dyes which are now banned from the market.

They found that hairdressers and barbers are at increased risk of developing bladder cancer.

The 17 scientists met last February to update advice last issued by the agency in 1993. They reviewed studies on cancers in hairdressers, beauticians and barbers that were done since then.

Permanent dyes, which make up about 80% of the market, contain chemicals that, when mixed with peroxide, cause a chemical reaction that produces the dye.

The team said dark hair dyes have the highest concentration of the banned colouring agents.

Lead author Robert Baan said a small but consistent risk of bladder cancer was reported in male hairdressers and barbers, which the study concluded provided limited evidence of carcinogenicity.

The findings confirm a decision back in the 1970s to ban certain colouring agents from hair-dyes after they were found to cause cancer in rodents.

But it was not clear whether the chemicals currently used in hair dyes were equally risky.

Cancer takes years to develop, so the report, published in The Lancet Oncology, was unable to draw any conclusions about hair dyes being used currently.

The report also examined the evidence for an increased risk of cancer for people using the same hair dyes at home, but said there was insufficient evidence to draw a conclusion.

Baan's team said people are exposed to naturally occurring carcinogens all the time - in food, in air and water, and the goal was not to increase the amount of exposure, especially among people whose occupation exposed them to potentially carcinogenic materials.


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Article Information

Title: Hair dye link to cancer
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 6094
Date Added: 31st Mar 2008


The Independent

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