Hairdressers And Barbers Have Higher Risk Of Cancer

as a hairdresser or barber has been confirmed as a potential
carcinogenic influcence, according to a Working Group report of the
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as published in the
2008 issue of The Lancet Oncology.

Hair dyes are presently classified as permanent, semipermanent, or
temporary dyes. The permanent (also called oxidative) dyes represent
approximately 80% of the available products. They work by combining two
chemical agents — an intermediate and a coupler — which are bound in
the presence of peroxide to form the dye molecule. Dark dyes tend to
contain the highest concentrations of these coloring ingredients. In
the 1970s, after positive cancer tests in rodents, the use of some of
these colorants was discontinued.

According to Dr Robert Baan, of the International Agency for Research
on Cancer, Lyon, France, and colleagues, many new epidemiological
studies on cancer in hairdressers, beauticians, and barbers have been
published since 1993, the date of the last IARC assessment. “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 re-affirmed occupational
exposures of hairdressers and barbers as ‘probably carcinogenic to

They also reviewed the epidemiological studies on the personal use of
hair dyes, but this evidence was not adequate for a definitive
conclusion about such treatments.

Many other chemicals, like hair dyes, belong to the group of organic
molecules known as aromatic amines. Ortho-toluidine, used in many
organic production processes including for hair dyes, pigments, and
rubber chemicals, is now classified as carcinogenic to humans. Another
curing agent, MOCA, which is used as a curing agent in plastics, also
has joined this classification.

Carcinogenicity of some aromatic amines, organic dyes, and
related exposures

Robert Baan, Kurt Straif, Yann Grosse,Beatrice Secretan, Fatiha El
Ghissassi, Veronique Bouvard, Lamia Benbrahim-Tallaa, Vincent Cogliano
The Lancet Oncology, Vol 9, April 2008
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Written by Anna Sophia McKenney

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