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Written Answers - Cosmetic Products Regulation

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 609.  Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  if his attention has been drawn to a report in a newspaper (details supplied) on 21 November 2011 in relation to an suspected incident of a severe allergic reaction resulting in death, to the chemical substance, paraphendiamine, which is used in hair dye products; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that the use of PPD is banned in France, Germany and Sweden; if he is considering a similar ban on the use of PPD here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16657/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) is the competent authority for the regulation of cosmetic products in Ireland. In relation to the tragic death of a 17 year old girl in the UK, referred to in the newspaper report, I am informed by the IMB that a link between hair dye ingredients and the girl’s cause of death was not established in the pathologist’s report. The UK authorities are however pursuing information on other cases reported in the press.

PPD (para-phenylenediamine) is a chemical ingredient which is used in hair colorant products. If applied directly to the skin, it may cause reactions. Allergic reactions are rare but can be severe. Consequently, the use of PPD in cosmetics is regulated at EU level under EU Cosmetics Directives. In the EU the use of PPD in cosmetics is restricted to low strength products for hair dyeing at a concentration of 2 % after mixing. PPD is banned in all Member States in black henna tattoos.

The safety of hair dye substances is currently being assessed by the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. The scientific committee’s final opinion will serve as a basis to take further decisions on the appropriate regulation of and safety restrictions on hair dyes containing PPD. It is expected that an opinion on PPD will be adopted in June of this year by the committee.

I am informed by the IMB that it has not been made aware of any reactions to PPD on the Irish market to date.

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