Date
22 January 2017
Consumers are advised to determine if they are allergic to chemicals in hair dye products before using them. Peerless Colour Cream (inset), for example, was found to contain a high concentration of one such chemical. Photos: TVB
Consumers are advised to determine if they are allergic to chemicals in hair dye products before using them. Peerless Colour Cream (inset), for example, was found to contain a high concentration of one such chemical. Photos: TVB

Most hair dye brands tested contain allergy-inducing chemicals

Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog has warned that many hair dye products in the market could be harmful to users.

The Consumer Council said 23 of the 25 hair dye products it recently tested contain chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, Apple Daily reported on Wednesday.

In the first six months of this year, the agency received four complaints relating to hair dye products, including from users who developed severe allergic reactions after using the products.

A brand called Peerless Colour Cream was found to have a strong sensitizer, m-aminophenol (MAP), with a 2.5 percent concentration, which is higher than the 2 percent threshold imposed by mainland authorities and the 1.2 percent ceiling set by European Union countries.

Under existing regulations, there are no limits imposed on the content of sensitizers p-aminophenol (PAP) and MPA in hair dye products sold in Hong Kong.

Manufacturers are only required to state the ingredients and their amount on the packaging of such products, as well as warning messages on possible allergic reactions in English and Chinese.

Six hair dye products available in Hong Kong were also found to contain sensitizers phenylenediamine (PPD) and toluenediamine (PTD), but did not comply with these labeling requirements.

The Consumer Council has alerted the Customs and Excise Department about these products for further action.

The council warned that some people could develop allergies even to hair dye products with relatively mild sensitizers.

It suggested that users first test a product on their wrist or the back of their ear to determine if they are allergic to it.

In an experiment, the council found that N-nitrosodiethanolamine (NDELA), a cancer-causing compound that can be absorbed through skin, was formed by mixing the contents of two hair dye products picked randomly in department stores, and leaving it for a prolonged period of time.

It noted, however, that mixing product contents or leaving the mixture for a long period are against the products’ recommended usage.

Consumers need not worry if they follow usage guidelines given by the manufacturers, the council added.

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