Advocates Petition FDA to Bar Toxic Lead Compound from Hair Dyes

Despite bans in Europe and Canada, neurotoxin remains widely used in American hair dyes

For Immediate Release: 

Monday, February 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — A group of public health advocates today announced that the Food and Drug Administration will consider removing its approval of lead acetate in hair dyes such as Grecian Formula. The group filed a joint petition that requires FDA to revisit a 1980 decision allowing the neurotoxin and carcinogen to remain in hair dye. Lead acetate is the active ingredient that slowly darkens grey hair when used every few days.

“An FDA ban on lead acetate is long overdue,” said Tina Sigurdson, EWG assistant general counsel. “Lead acetate can expose people to lead, which has been linked to serious health problems like developmental, reproductive and organ system toxicity, as well as cancer. It’s unconscionable that this potent neurotoxin is still used in a handful of men’s hair dye formulas. Lead acetate already has been banned in Canada and…

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