Media Release - WARNINGS ON HAIRDRESSING CHEMICALS
FOUND TO BE INADEQUATE
05 Jun 2001
Chemicals commonly found as ingredients in bleaches used for
hair-dressing have been assessed for their health effects by the
National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
The NICNAS assessment of ammonium, potassium and sodium persulfate was
carried out after concerns were raised about their widespread use in the
hairdressing industry and the prevalence of skin disease and asthma in
There was also concern as to whether the information included on the
hazard warnings was adequate.
The report found that while occupational control measures are used in
formulation plants to protect formulators of the products, no
engineering controls are in place in hair salons.
As well, current labels for salon products lack warnings about
These chemicals are found in approximately 13 home-use consumer products
and approximately 40 hairdressing salon products in use in Australia.
The persulfate content of home-use products varies from 45% to 82.5% and
in salon products from 22% to 88%.
Exposure effects in humans include contact hypersensitivity, contact
urticaria, rhinitis, bronchitis and early and late onset asthma.
The report recommends the phasing out of those products that release
dust at work.
The full report can be downloaded from the NICNAS website at the
The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
(NICNAS) operates under the Commonwealth Industrial Chemicals
(Notification and Assessment) Act 1989.
NICNAS is a statutory scheme within the portfolio of the Minister for
Health and Ageing. Its approach to the scientific assessment of
chemicals covers toxicity, exposure and use to assess the environmental,
public health and occupational health and safety risk. For more
information see the web site
Nick Miller, NICNAS, (02) 8577 8810 or 0407 228 285