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The Dangers of Dyes

David Suzuki Article:

The dirt on toxic chemical in household cleaning products

Dangers of Dyes

…“There is no requirement in Canada for manufacturers to warn consumers about the health and environmental hazards associated with chronic, or long-term, exposure to chemical ingredients in household cleaning products (Credit: Jenny Lee Silver). Canadians spend more than $275 million on household cleaning products in a year. We buy these products to fight germs, streaks, stains and odours to keep our homes sparkling clean. Cleaning is supposed to be about maintaining a healthy home, yet some common household cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm human health and the environment. What a mess.”

Coal tar dyes

...“Derived from petrochemicals, and may be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead. There is concern that synthetic dyes may cause cancer and that heavy metals can harm the nervous system and cause other adverse health effects. Dyes in cleaning products can be absorbed through the skin or ingested in the case of soap residue on dishes. They are completely unnecessary to the cleaning function of the product.

Found in: most types of cleaning products.”

Breast Cancer And Our Environment Dyes in Cleaning Products

…“Dyes in cleaning products are often unlabeled on the products' ingredient lists, but are often comprised of several different chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. Although there is no data on breast cancer specifically, these chemicals are rarely necessary, particularly considering potential risks.”

Healthcare Environment Center

Dyes: Dyes are sometimes added to cleaning products to help housekeeping staff identify a particular product, and to keep them from confusing it with another similar product, which under some circumstances can have dangerous results. However, many dyes are environmental toxicants, and some are even carcinogens. Some in the medical community advocate removing dyes and instead using alternative packaging that clearly identifies the product to housekeeping staff.”

From The Website "Collective Evolution"

Coal Tar Dyes

…“Look for P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE in hair dyes and colours identified as “C.I.” followed by five digits in other products. Potential to cause cancer and can be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.  

Why is it Used?: 

Coal tar-derived colours are used extensively in cosmetics, generally identified by a five-digit Colour Index (C.I.) number. The U.S. colour name may also be listed (“FD&C” or “D&C” followed by a colour name and number). P-phenylenediamine is a particular coal tar dye used in many hair dyes. Darker hair dyes tend to contain more phenylenediamine than lighter colours.

Health and Environmental Hazards: 

Coal tar is a mixture of many chemicals, derived from petroleum, Coal tar is recognized as a human carcinogen and the main concern with individual coal tar colours (whether produced from coal tar or synthetically) is their potential to cause cancer. These colours may as well be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and some are combined with aluminum substrate. 

Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain.”

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