By MELISSA MURRAY Newsnight understands a small number of people are suffering serious health problems after ingesting hair bleach, and more than 200 cases have been recorded in Australia.
What is hair dye?
The chemicals in hair dye are the same as those used in the hair colouring industry, so they can be used safely in cosmetics and hair care products.
Hair dye contains two main ingredients, sodium chloride and sodium hydroxide.
These are usually used to colour hair.
Sodium hydroxides are more toxic than sodium chloride, but they’re not harmful to people.
What are the health risks?
It is thought about 50 per cent of people ingesting these chemicals in excess can experience serious health issues, including allergic reactions and problems with blood circulation.
The other 50 per or 50 per per cent are unlikely to experience any problems, but it’s worth noting that people who are allergic to hair colour may not have the same symptoms.
Hairy scalpThe hair colour is often a result of a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The condition causes excessive production of the hormone follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in the body, leading to a condition called polycystosis.
The condition can also cause hair loss.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (also known as PCOS) is a disorder that causes excessive follicle-stimulating hormone production in the ovaries and can lead to hair loss, baldness and cystic acne.
What can you do to reduce your risk?
Hair bleach is a toxic substance, but the most important thing you can do is wash your hands thoroughly after using it, wash your hair regularly and do not use it in a shower.
If you’ve had any of the above symptoms and want to stop, call the National Health Service on 1300 659 447 or call the Hair and Face Helpline on 1800 661 889.
You can also call the Australian Bureau of Health and Welfare’s Hair Health Centre on 1800 751 887 for information on your local hair care provider.
What other products are potentially dangerous?
There are products that have been linked to serious health risks.
The Australian government has banned hair dye in cosmetics, but a range of other products have also been linked with serious health effects.
These include:Products containing sodium hydronate or sodium chloride:These are chemicals used to make hair dye, which can be harmful if swallowed.
They are usually made in a chemical process similar to that used to create hair colour.
If ingested, they can cause allergic reactions, and people are at risk of developing skin, lung and kidney problems.
They can also lead to damage to blood vessels in the lungs and other organs.
Hairdressers and hairstylists can be at risk, because of the way hair is made.
The US Food and Drug Administration has said that the chemicals can be dangerous when used by someone under the influence of alcohol.
The same FDA said hair dye should not be used by anyone with a history of cardiovascular disease.
What else can you expect?
The National Health and Safety at Work (NHW) has urged people not to use hair bleach for personal hygiene or hair care purposes, as it can cause serious health consequences.
The NHW has recommended that hair colour should not also be used in cosmetics or haircare products.
What’s in your hair dye kit?
Your hair dye can be made with other ingredients, including sodium hydrate and sodium chloride.
To help you find the right product, the Australian Hair Health Organisation recommends that you search for products containing Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hydrogenated Castor Oil and Sodium Hydronate, and the following products contain Sodium Hydrolase, Sodium Hyaluronate and Sodium Hyalinuronate.