Lead Levels In Gradual Color Hair Dyes High Enough To Cause Harm

February 28, 2017

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There has been debate as to the safety of hair dyes that gradually color grey hair away.  At the heart of the debate is the use of lead acetate, the key ingredient that is responsible for the gradual hair color change. While lead acetate is found in many cosmetics, from lipstick to eyeliner, the levels in hair dye is significantly higher (and not because it covers more skin area).  While lipsticks may have 5ppm (parts per million), hair dye can legally be sold with as much as 6,000ppm. By contrast, in 1977, paint with lead levels of more than 600ppm were banned. What is even more troubling is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set up new guidelines for cosmetics to limit lead levels in cosmetics, deodorants and lotions to no more than 10ppm.  Exempt from this new rule is hair dyes which only carry a vague warning last updated in 1980 that doesn't address items that come in contact with these hair dyes routinely, such as brushes, blow-dryers and faucets, which can come in contact with pregnant women and children . Exposure to high levels of lead is linked to health problems like developmental, reproductive and organ system toxicity, as well as cancer. So toxic, lead acetate ash been banned in Canada and Europe. The groups calling for the government to limit lead acetate cite a 2001 study that found items in contact with hair dyes containing lead acetate had as much as 2,804 micrograms per square foot.  A level of 40 micrograms of lead per square foot is considered a hazard to children. Check the product label on hair dyes for warnings of lead acetate as you may want to keep these products out of your hair and home!

SOURCE: The Consumerist

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