NZ study reveals ‘low cost’ hair dyes could breach amended regulation

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

Results from an ongoing investigation by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has revealed that concentration levels of para-phenylenediamine in certain brands of hair dyes sold at discount stores may now exceed amended regulations.

The NZ regulator for the industry, the ‘Cosmetics Products Group Standard’ recently amended its concentration level guidelines on the use of Para-phenylenediamine and its salts (found in hair dye) from six percent to a maximum concentration of two percent.

According to the study, results from the data collected on ninety hair dye samples complied with the permissible level of 6 percent at the time of sampling.

However, with the amended maximum concentration of para-phenylenediamine dropping to two percent in line EU regulations, nine out of the 90 samples may now exceed the acceptable level, with the maximum concentration recorded being 2.85 percent.


Regulations are based on the European Union’s Cosmetics Directive and reviewed annually to take into account changes made to the EU Directive as well as consideration of any issues in comparable jurisdictions such as the US, Canada and Australia and issues raised by interested parties.

Recent amendments implemented by the CPGS have included the additional warnings on the labels of certain hair dyes, adding diethylene glycol, phytonadione and phytomenadione to the list of substances not allowed in cosmetic products, and extending the transition periods for some amendments to take effect.

Meta and ortho-phenylenediamines are now both listed in Schedule 4 of the Cosmetic Products Group Standard as prohibited components.

According to their website, the industry has had until October 2011 to comply with the changes.

Hair dyes failing to comply with these new regulations will not be allowed onto the New Zealand market.

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