Tabatha was rushed to hospital and later died. The exact cause of her death is not known, but medics are investigating whether it might have been due to a severe allergic reaction to a chemical used in 99 per cent of all hair-dyes: PPD or p-Phenylendiamine.
This chemical fixes dye permanently into the hair so it doesn’t wash out — and it is causing increasing concern, with some experts now calling for an outright ban.
‘Not only that but, because PPD is in many other products — such as printing inks, dark fabric dyes and even dark cosmetics — she has to be very careful, as contact with them could kill her.’
Researchers were unable to say if this risk extended to people using home dyes, but they, too, noted that dark hair-dyes were especially rich in carcinogenic chemicals.
In 2008, a study by Yale School of Public Health suggested women who used dark hair-dyes more than nine times a year double their risk of developing follicular lymphoma, a form of leukaemia. For those who started dyeing their hair in the Seventies, the risk rose further, perhaps due to chemicals that are now banned, or the fact they’d been using the products longer.
What’s more, a 2001 study in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who used permanent hair-dyes regularly for 15 years or more were three times as likely to develop bladder cancer as women who didn’t dye their hair — perhaps because of chemicals in dye called arylamines.
The World Health Organisation has also reported on arylamines, which are removed from the body via the bladder. And there was evidence that exposure to chemicals in hair-dyes may increase the risk of bladder cancer for male hairdressers and barbers.
You could also use a natural hair colour such as Naturtint Reflex, which is free of PPD and other possibly irritating chemicals such as parabens and ammonia, or swap your tint at the salon for highlights or lowlights, which are applied on foils, so don’t touch the scalp.
Natur Vital launches a new PPD-free permanent home hair colour at the end of the month. A Danish company called Organicle is also launching a range of PPD-free salon colours under the brand Natulique. Customers will still need a patch test, but they could be the solution for women who want to avoid PPD or know they are allergic to it.