Why the FDA Is Banning Lead from Hair Dye After 40 Years

After a petition, the FDA is set to ban the use of a lead-based neurotoxin which has been used as a color additive in some hair dyes for four decades.
Studies found a lead-based ingredient used in some hair dyes was capable of contaminating the hands of its users and was unsafe for children. Getty Images
Have you read the labels on your cosmetics lately?
It may surprise you that lead and other toxic substances can still find their way into your household through products you use every day.
However, the FDA recently moved to remove lead acetate from hair dye, forty years after it was initially deemed safe for use in cosmetics.
“We now know that the approved use of lead acetate in adult hair dyes no longer meets our safety standard. Lead exposure can have serious adverse effects on human health, including for children who may be particularly vulnerable,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a press release.
Why the change is being made
The FDA was petitioned by consumer safety, environmental, and children’s advocacy groups to reconsider the use of lead acetate based on data compiled since 1980 that demonstrates its potential for harm.The FDA is giving companies one year from the date of their final rule to reformulate products that currently contain lead acetate.
Dr. Jacqueline Moline, chair of occupational medicine, epidemiology, and prevention at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY, praised the FDA’s action.“I’m ecstatic that they are finally doing something about it. There’s no reason there should be lead in hair dye, especially if it’s a targeted product for people whose hair is graying, which means that they may have opportunity to be around children,” she told Healthline.
“It’s not only protecting the individual using the hair dye, but also protecting the household.”