new research study claims hair bleach may cause asthma
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New research study claims hair bleach may cause asthma

Researchers have found a link between exposure to persulphate salts – the chemicals in some hair bleaching agents – and incidents of hair stylists developing occupational asthma and rhinitis (chronic runny nose).

The November 2005 issue of the journal "Chest" reported that Italian researchers performed allergy tests, lung function tests and specific inhalation challenge on 47 hair stylists suspected of having occupational asthma. All participants had been exposed to persulphate salts in bleaching products for an average of seven years.

As reported, the study found that 51 percent of the hair stylists were diagnosed with occupational asthma; 87.5 percent of those cases were attributed to exposure to persulphate salts. The other cases were attributed to permanent hair dyes (8.3 percent) and latex (4.2 percent.)

Over 54 percent of the hair stylists were diagnosed with rhinitis, and close to 85 percent of those cases were attributable to persulphate salts. The study also noted that 36 percent of the stylists were diagnosed with occupational dermatitis.

Stylists diagnosed with occupational asthma related to persulphate salts had a long period of exposure to bleaching agents and a long period between the start of the exposure and the onset of asthma symptoms.

The researchers claimed their paper confirmed long held suspicions that persulfate salts are the major agents involved in occupational asthma and occupational rhinitis in hairdressers. The positive test results and the high frequency of association of asthma with other diseases such as dermatitis and rhinitis suggest an immunologic mechanism that remains to be elucidated.


New research study claims hair bleach may cause asthma references

  • Moscato G, Pignatti P, Yacoub MR, Romano C, Spezia S, Perfetti L. Occupational asthma and occupational rhinitis in hairdressers. Chest. 2005 Nov;128(5):3590-8. PMID: 16304318
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