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Toxic Hair Dye Ingredients

Toxic Hair Dye Ingredients

So, how bad is hair dye? Just like evolution has taught us that terribly bitter tastes may indicate a poisonous food, it’s my thought that the smell of hair dye should have us warned accordingly. How can something that smells so toxic be all right? As you may know, the FDA has no authority to require that cosmetics be tested for safety before they are sold, unlike drugs and food additives. An industry-funded panel, not a government health agency, reviews the safety of cosmetic ingredients in the U.S. Research undertaken by Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows that this largely self-regulated industry routinely fails to adhere to their own safety panel’s advice or to heed the health warnings inherent in cosmetic safety standards set in other countries.

In an investigation of the ingredients in more than 23,000 products, EWG found that nearly one of every 30 products sold in the U.S. fails to meet one or more industry or governmental cosmetics safety standards. They found nearly 400 products sold in the U.S. containing chemicals that are prohibited for use in cosmetics in other countries, and over 400 products containing ingredients that cosmetic industry safety panels have found unsafe when used as directed on product labels, including the U.S.-based Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) and the International Fragrance Association.

One way, as a consumer, that you can pull up the slack where the FDA is lagging is to familiarize yourself with ingredients banned by the European Commission, and check the label of products you use or are considering. Here is list of hair-dye substances banned in Europe, as listed in the Official Journal of the European Union:

4,5-Diamino-1-((4-Chlorophenyl)Methyl)-1H-Pyrazole Sulfate
5-Amino-4-Fluoro-2-Methylphenol Sulfate
3,4-Diaminobenzoic acid
Solvent Red 1 (CI 12150)
Acid Orange 24 (CI 20170
Acid Red 73 (CI 27290)

Read more: Beauty, Cancer, General Health, Hair Care, , , ,

By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy & Green Living

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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10:03AM PDT on Oct 7, 2012

i should try the henna option as the others are really way too strong smelling and toxic of course. but most people just use it without batting an eyelid!

6:52PM PST on Nov 6, 2011

Thanks for the info.

10:31AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Also, Stacy, Organic Color Systems is better than some, but still does contain PPD, among other questionable ingredients.

10:23AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Henna is only natural if it is orange/reddish brown. If it is 'black' henna, it contains PPD, so be careful.

4:29PM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Well duh, how do people not realize that most of what is common in beauty and toiletries today are extremely toxic. Everyone is full of toxins from the products they use, the food they eat, and the air they breathe. Use henna if you want to change your hair. It's all natural and works wonders.

2:03AM PDT on Sep 9, 2011

I once colored my hair and almost fainted by the odor. Can't be good

7:38PM PDT on Aug 22, 2011

If you must color your hair, use which we use exclusively at my salon.

9:57PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

I started using henna a few months ago and although it's a bit messy when first figuring out how to use it, the colour seems to last longer than the traditional things like Clairol or L'Oreal. I love that I'm no longer applying all those toxins to my head. :-)

11:10PM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

I don't have to dye my hair anymore!

I've checked with friends. This is not illusion! It is confirmed.

My 68 year old gray hair has turned to a pleasant brown!

Could it have to do with the regeneration of a vegetarian life in connection with the Creator of all life forms?

Anyhow, when I look in the mirror, I exalt. Some color is left from the last dye job done many months ago. It is light reddish blonde and the new growth of light brown blends to my delight.

I am grateful.

Look at my roots! ROFLOL

4:58AM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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