According to recent news, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of toxic lead acetate in hair dyes in an attempt to protect the public from toxic chemicals. As the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports, lead acetate is an active ingredient that darkens grey hair when used every few days—and it can increase the lead count in users’ bodies.
“A ban on lead acetate in off-the-shelf hair dyes is long overdue,” says legislative attorney at EWG Melanie Benesh. “There is no safe level of lead exposure, which has been linked to developmental issues, reduced fertility, organ system toxicity, cancer and other serious health problems…We’re grateful for the FDA’s effort to protect public health from this source of exposure to one of the most hazardous chemicals known.”
Hair colorist and trichologist Gregorio Ruggeri confirms this ingredient can cause major damage to the nervous system, kidneys and liver, but he says that once it is banned, there will likely no longer be carcinogenic ingredients in over-the-counter commercial hair dye. “It is thought to be one of the last remaining carcinogenic ingredients left,” he says.
“It’s good news the FDA has finally banned something as dangerous as lead from a product you put on your scalp,” says Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “But it’s long past time for Congress to give the FDA the power and mandate to act quickly to protect us from dangers like lead acetate.”