Feb 20 2013, 5:26am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Chemicals in permanent hair dyes can react with tobacco smoke and other pollutants to create one of the most powerful cancer-causing compounds, the journal Materials reports.
With over a third of women and one in 10 men regularly colouring their hair, researchers say it is "imperative" that the risk to health is quantified.
However, the cosmetics industry has strongly disputed the claim, the Daily Mail reports.
In 2009, the Daily Mail reported that women who use hair dyes more than nine times a year have a 60 percent greater risk of contracting blood cancer. A year later the European Commission banned 22 hair dyes which put long-term users at risk of bladder cancer.
Chemicals called secondary amines, present either in all permanent hair dyes or formed in them, can penetrate skin and stay on the hair for weeks, months or even years after the dye is applied.
Over time, they could react with tobacco smoke and exhaust fumes, to form highly poisonous chemicals called N-nitrosamines.
Known to cause cancer, these are banned from use in cosmetics. But the Leeds researchers argue that they can still be generated via a simple chemical reaction.
David Lewis, study co-author and an expert in the chemistry of various dyes, said: "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," added Lewis.
A spokesman for Green Chemicals, which is about to launch its own "ultra-safe" range of hair dyes, said that despite numerous studies, the danger posed by chemicals in hair dye reacting with air has been missed or ignored until now.
Luigi is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at email@example.com. Luigi posts regularly on LuigiMe.com about his experience running I4U.
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