Salon Allergy Specialist

Salon Allergy Specialist

Monday, April 29, 2013

Congress, the FDA, and the GAO on PPD

I have been doing some questioning lately, and I have actually been getting some answers. According to Ms. Beth Meyers, of the FDA, the FDA has no authority over PPD in hair color  This has to do with a law passed by Congress, "The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938", which was enacted in part from 107 people dying after taking the Elixir Sulfanilamide, a that was sold as a "healing  tonic". This toxic chemical is now used for chemotherapy. Congress was also moved by Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt's "Chamber of Horrors", which had been a publicized failure of the FDA's ability to remove Lash Lure from the shelves in spite of the fact that several women had been blinded, and there was one fatality. Once the law was passed, they were finally able to remove Lash Lure from the shelves.

Apparently, because of this ruling, which I have not been able to find copies of, hair dye is exempt from FDA approval. In the 1938 law, there was a law passed that you can not dye eye lashes, or eye brows. The rest of the hair is exempt. Ms. Meyers was lovely enough to give me some information to look for, so I went searching, to the Government Accountability Office. I had not heard of this branch before, but the information I found was very interesting. Basically, they had said that they felt that the law should be reviewed again, and that the FDA should have some amount of control over coal tar hair dyes. (or Para-Phenylene Diamine, PPD) They also mentioned several studies that were done, and that they felt that the PPD and cancer situation needed to be studied more. They also said that hair color is definitely absorbed through the scalp, so that it should give the FDA a reason to go to Congress for a repeal of 601 (a) and 601 (e) of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act. The GAO also recommended that the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should direct the commissioner of the FDA to evaluate the safety of coal tar hair dye and require, where applicable, cancer AND OTHER  appropriate warnings on the labeling.  This information is from December of 1977.

Most people are still un-aware that hair dye can cause cancer. Most people are still un-aware that allergic reactions can send you to the emergency room, and can be life threatening. This includes hairdressers. In fact, it includes most doctors. How to get the word out? I was just reading on the link about educational grants. Maybe of someone was a much better writer than I was, they could apply for a research education grant. A grant to educate the public, the hairdressers, and doctors about this. If the word was out, maybe Congress would listen. That's what happened with Toxic Shock Syndrome and Tampons. They got the word out. They said, I don't want my daughter to die from anaphylactic shock from a tampon. Now, in every box of tampons, there is a note, about this. Even though it's rare, and it might not happen to you, it's in the box. Is it a lot to hope for? Probably.

But a girl can dream.