This common hair dye ingredient is now banned in Europe

Published: 15-May-2019

2-Chloro-p-Phenylenediamine is used to create violet and red tones

The chemical 2-Chloro-p-Phenylenediamine will be prohibited in the EU, along with its sulphate and dihydrochloride salts, in all hair, eyebrow and eyelash dye products, as of 22 November this year.

The chemical has now been added to the list of prohibited substances in Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009.

The ban applies to new products from November, but in order to give retailers time to shift stock, it will not apply to products already on the market until 22 February 2020.

2-Chloro-p-phenylenediamine is used at concentrations of up to 4.6% in hair, eyebrow and eyelash dyes and prior to use is mixed 50:50 with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. It results in red and violet colours.

The ban is the culmination of a procedure that has been in train since 2013 when the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) gave its opinion that it could not be considered safe for consumers due to a lack of available data.

The chemical was tested following user reports of skin sensitisation, particularly after repeated use.

The SCCS concluded that it is “at least a 'strong' sensitiser”, although animal tests to evaluate if the substance was carcinogenic or caused gene mutations proved inconclusive. The EU notified the WTO in July last year that it was likely to face a ban.

Partly in light of EU concerns, Australia made an interim decision in February to strengthen packaging warnings on products containing 2-Chloro-p-Phenylenediamine, stating: “2-chlorophenylenediame and its sulfate are strong skin sensitisers and there is evidence of severe allergic reactions when used in humans as a dye for eyebrows and eyelashes, with symptoms of itchy dermatitis on eyebrows, itchy dermatitis on the eyelids and swollen eyelids, watering, itchiness and redness in both eyes, followed by severe inflammation of eyelids and conjunctival chemosis.”

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