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Now-Banned Hair Dyes Linked to Bladder Cancer
Date:3/26/2008

" Thun said.

"A small, but consistent, risk of bladder cancer was reported in male hairdressers and barbers. Because of few supporting findings by duration or period of exposure, the Working Group considered these data as limited evidence of carcinogenicity and reaffirmed occupational exposures of hairdressers and barbers as 'probably carcinogenic' to humans," the researchers wrote.

Baan's team also looked at whether people using hair dyes at home had similar risks for cancer. They found there wasn't enough evidence to make a definitive conclusion about the personal use of hair dyes and the potential for cancer.

The researchers also looked at other chemicals that belong to the same chemical group as hair dyes. They noted that one chemical -- ortho-toluidine, which is used in making dyes, pigments and rubber chemicals -- is classified as carcinogenic to humans.

Thun noted that people are exposed to naturally occurring carcinogens all the time -- in food, in air and water. "The goal is not to increase that load. So the goal here is to have these products be free of substances that are potential carcinogens and to minimize the exposure of people who work with them," he said.

More information

For more information on hair dyes, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.



SOURCES: Michael J. Thun, M.D., head, epidemiological research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; April 2008 Lancet Oncology


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