Is P-Toluenediamine in Permanent Hair Color Dye?
“Toluene-2,5-Diamine and Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate are used as ingredients in the formulation of permanent hair dyes, colors and tints. Toluene-3,4-Diamine may also be used in hair dye products.” 1This permanent hair color chemical has also been called para-toluenediamine (PTD) or p-toluenediamine. So, is it safe when used in permanent hair color dye?
It depends on whose hair color research (or lack of it) you choose to rely on. Natural hair color safety should be paramount in your choice of hair coloring dye.
After extensive scientific research, the European Commission (Health and Consumer Safety) concluded that the use of toluene-2,5-diamine cannot be considered safe for hair coloring or hair shaft. The National Allergy Research Centre in Denmark concluded that hair color dye users need more protection and a ‘preventative strategy’ to reduce cases of severe allergic contact dermatitis.
UNSAFE: Determination by Scientific Committee on Consumer Products Conclusion on Toluene-2,5-diamine in Hair Coloring
“The SCCP is of the opinion that the use of toluene-2,5-diamine cannot be considered safe based on the available data. This conclusion may be re-evaluated if human toxicokinetic data were to become available in which dosages used more closely approximate the intended use of the substance.
- Toluene-2,5-diamine is an extremely potent skin sensitizer.
- Clarification must be given on the myocyte degeneration in the dose range finding study of the 90 day study.
- Toluene-2,5-diamine sulfate itself has no mutagenic potential in vivo.
However, studies on genotoxicity/mutagenicity in finished hair dye formulations should be undertaken following the relevant SCCNFP/SCCP opinions and in accordance with its Notes of Guidance.” 2
UNSAFE: Determination by National Allergy Research Centre Abstract on Toluene-2,5-diamine in Hair Coloring
“Colouring of hair can cause severe allergic contact dermatitis. The most frequently reported hair dye allergens are p-phenylenediamine (PPD) and toluene-2,5-diamine, which are included in, respectively, the patch test standard series and the hairdresser’s series. The aim of the present study was to identify dye precursors and couplers in hair dyeing products causing clinical hair dye dermatitis and to compare the data with the contents of these compounds in a randomly selected set of similar products… Hair dye allergy may cause severe clinical reactions, and the current regulation is insufficient in protection of the users. A preventive strategy is needed.” 3
SAFE: Determination by USA Expert Panel Opinion on Toluene-2,5-diamine in Hair Coloring
On the opposite side of the dilemma is the conclusion on use of these permanent hair color ingredients by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. They state that Toluene-2,5-Diamine and Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate are safe for use as permanent hair color dye ingredients:
“The safety of Toluene-2,5-Diamine, Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate and Toluene-3,4-Diamine has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Toluene-2,5-Diamine and Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate were safe for use as hair dye ingredients. The CIR Expert Panel concluded that the data were insufficient to assess the safety of Toluene-3,4-Diamine as a hair dye ingredient .1
Who is the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel?
Before deciding to continue using chemical hair color dyes, let’s learn more about the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel and who they work for-from their own website:
“Cosmeticsinfo.org is an information Web site that includes factual, scientific information on ingredients most commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products in the United States. The Personal Care Products Council (the Council) and its member companies sponsor this Web site to provide consumers with easily accessible comprehensive safety information on cosmetics and personal care products and to help consumers make informed purchases.”1
Cosmeticinfo.org –website sponsor of Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR)
“Based in Washington, D.C., the Council is the trade association representing the cosmetic toiletry and fragrance industry in the United States and globally. Founded in 1894, the Council has a membership of more than 600 companies including manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the United States.”1 (Italics ours)
This council represents the manufacturers who actively promote the use of chemicals like para-toluenediamine (PTD) or p-toluenediamine in their hair color products! Therefore, even though the Council provides extremely valuable information on other topics, how can this expert conclusion on this issue be deemed as totally accurate?
Reported ‘facts’ can be confusing and at times, overwhelming. As consumers, it is wise to take extra precautions to be safe and protect our hair color.
Only you can decide whom you will listen to.
Source: 1Cosmetic Ingredient Review Council. Washington, DC. USA. 2National Allergy Research Centre, Department of Dermatology, University of Copenhagen Gentofte Hospital, Denmark. 3Scientific Committee on Consumer Products
Author: L.J. O'Neal, writer and researcher. (L.J. is also a Lustrous Henna® user.)
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