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  QUESTION: Lead in hair colouring products e.g. Grecian Formula, 14 Mar 2006, Wisconsin USA

Have there been any studies or information developed on long term effects of use of hair color products such as Grecian Formula in males 35 - 65 yrs old?
Have there been any reported health issues from use of the product?
What symptoms would one expect to see if the product was adversely affecting health?
ANSWER: 27 Jul 2006

Dear James,
I'm sorry for the very late reply.
Lead has been used in hair colour products. The content of lead in these products are restricted. However, poisoning may occur in case of prolonged exposure. It can also happen in case of ingestion. You can check the websites below, Updated 2012:

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=73.2396

Lead Acetate in "Progressive" Hair Dye Products, http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm143075.htm

Hair dye poisoning and the developing world, Krishnaswamy Sampathkumar and Sooraj Yesudas, J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2009 May-Aug; 2(2): 129131.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2700586/

www.lead.org.au/lanv5n2/lanv5n2-5.html

Lead acetate is present in many hair colouring products and it has some adverse effects in humans, in case of poisoning. You may want to check
http://www.avantormaterials.com/documents/MSDS/usa/English/L2434_msds_us_cov_Default.pdf for detailed effect of Lead acetate. This website mentions that lead can be absorbed through the skin on prolonged exposure.
The FDA allows the use of lead in hair colour products.
I hope the information above would help.
Regards,
Erik Wibowo
(Research Assistant - Global Lead Advice and Support Service)

Also see Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning

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