Scientists at British company Green Chemicals have found that chemicals in many common hair dye products can cause cancer.
The chemicals called secondary amines, can penetrate the skin and stay on hair for years. When they react to tobacco smoke and exhaust fumes, they create a poisonous chemical called N-nitrosamines which are known to cause cancer and are banned from being used in cosmetics.
Home and salon dyes form or contain secondary amines, and hair dye has been linked to a range of cancers, including the formation of tumours in the brain, ovaries, bladder and breasts.
Professor David Lewis told the Daily Mail “At this stage, we can’t be sure of the amount of N-nitrosamines produced or the level of risk these compounds pose but it is clear a potential hazard exists. In the interest of consumer safety, it is imperative that a thorough and independent investigation is conducted to establish the levels of toxicity of these compounds and the potential risks.”
Despite previous warnings about hair dye, manufacturers dispute the claims, even when the European Commission banned 22 dyes which had been linked to bladder cancer.