Hair dye formulas safe after 1980

Related tags Hair dye Cancer Santiago de compostela

A new French study throws further evidence on the fact that
individuals in regular contact with hair dyes formulated before
1980 - particularly hair care professionals - have a higher risk of
developing lymphoma, reports Simon Pitman.

Findings from the study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer​, were presented by Profressor Paolo Boffetta at the International Conference on Malignant Melonoma, held in Switzerland this week.

The study included 5,000 women, and although it found that the most dangerous chemicals had been taken out of most hair dyes during the course of the 1970s, it stresses that many individuals who were in regular contact with such chemicals before this time were at an increased risk of developing lymphomas.

In a report by the BBC, which was confirmed to be accurate by Professor Boffetta, the study found that women who regularly dyed there hair before 1980 had a 20 per cent increased risk of developing lymphoma compared to women that had never dyed their hair during the same period.

During his presentation at the conference, Professor Boffetta said: "It is reassuring to notice that dyes used in the last 25 years do not seem to carry an increased risk."

Although Professor Boffetta did indicate that it might be premature to conclude that newer hair dye formulas are safer, he did stress that there is mounting evidence to suggest this is true.

Another recently published study revealed similar findings. A team at the University Santiago de Compostela in Spain found that a meta-analysis of the scientific evidence looking at the association between cancer and hair dye use found no strong evidence of increased risk. The study findings were published in the May 25 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Our results indicate that, globally, there is no effect of personal hair dye use on the risk of breast and bladder cancer,"​ the authors reported. "There is a borderline effect for hematopoietic cancers (for example, leukemia and multiple myeloma). However, the evidence of a causal effect is too weak to represent a major public health concern."

The study findings concluded that further study in this field should be concentrating on the effects of hair dyes on individuals who are using such products on a daily basis, emphasizing that the average consumer who comes into contact with hair dye formulas once every one or two months was not under any significant risk of developing cancer as a result.

Despite the findings, the Spanish scientists said that with an estimated one third of women in the US and Europe and 10 per cent of men aged over 40 using some sort of colouring in their hair, the need for further research was pressing.

To date medical literature searches identify 79 studies from 11 countries that have examined the association between use of hair dyes and the relative risk of cancer.

Related topics Formulation & Science Hair Care

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