Hair dye chemicals banned over cancer riskMove follows study linking dyes to bladder cancer

21 July 2006

The European Commission is to ban 22 chemicals found in permanent hairs dyes because of  cancer fears.

The chemical products are being withdrawn as ingredients in dyes from the start of December because of a possible risk of bladder cancer from long-term use.

Which reported in 2003 how a US study found women who used dyes once a month were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who didn't dye their hair.

A European Commission statement said the ban was the first step in producing a list of all hair dye substances considered safe for human health.

The cosmetics industry has already submitted safety information on 115 products they want to see on the final agreed list.

Protecting consumers

However, ingredients not submitted for approval, including the 22 chemicals named today, or ingredients submitted and deemed a possible risk, will not make the final list.

EU Industry Commissioner Gunter Verheugen said the 115 chemicals submitted by the industry were still being evaluated by the experts, with a final recommendation on their safety due in October.

He added: ‘Substances for which there is no proof that they are safe will disappear from the market. Our high safety standards do not only protect EU consumers, they also give legal certainty to the European cosmetics industry.’

The European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfume Association said that virtually none of the hair dye chemicals on the banned today are in use in commercial products in European shops.

The European Commission estimates the permanent hair dye market is worth more than £1.7 billion a year, with more than 60 per cent of women and between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of men colouring their hair.