On Oct. 30, 38-year-old Julie McCabe started to dye her hair with a bottle of L’Oreal Superior Preference. Then she had an allergic reaction so strong that she had trouble breathing. Her father told the BBC that on their way to a nearby hospital, McCabe’s condition got so bad that her heart actually stopped.
Scarier still is that McCabe had dyed her hair every six weeks for the past several years and never encountered a problem until last month.
So what’s to blame? Her father thinks the chemical para-phenylenediamine, or PPD, is what caused the reaction, but McCabe’s doctors still don’t know what caused her to go into a coma. A 2007 study published in the British Journal of Medicine linked the chemical to allergic reactions, and a study conducted in the United States linked PPD exposure to increased rates of bladder cancer.
If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out why this stuff is still floating around in hair dye, scratch no further: a European Union trade regulation says the chemical can compose up to 6 percent of a hair dye.
And that’s why McCabe’s lawyers are campaigning to make hair dye users aware of just how harmful PPD can be. In response, L’Oreal says it’s “extremely concerned” about McCabe’s situation. In a statement, the company said:
“We do not know the details of the case so it would be inappropriate for us to comment further, however we will do everything we can to assist this lady’s family and medical team with information they might need to establish what happened.”
Sounds like what happened is a woman got sick after a L’Oreal product that contained a hazardous chemical, but we’ll keep you posted if any news develops. Until then, check your hair dye and make sure it doesn’t have any PPD in it.