PARIS — The European Commission has banned 22 substances used in hair dyes, starting Dec. 1.

Among the substances listed are 4-hydroxyinole and solvent red 1.

Although some in the industry laud the decision, the 22 substances are said to rarely be found in hair dyes manufactured in the European Union.

The scientific committee advising the commission recommended the ban of the 22 substances following a study linking long-term use of certain hair dyes to a potential risk of bladder cancer. Hair-dye manufacturers had been asked to provide the commission with a file containing scientific proof that the substance does not pose a risk to health. By the end of 2005, 115 such safety files were submitted.

The 22 hair-dye substances to be banned do not have submitted safety files.

European Commission vice president Günter Verheugen said, in a statement, “substances for which there is no proof that they are safe will disappear from the market. Our high safety standards not only protect EU consumers, they also give legal certainty to the European cosmetics industry.”

France’s industry watchdog, the Fédération des Industries de la Parfumerie, said in a statement that it supports the commission’s decision.

“Today, the commission confirmed that these substances may no longer be used in hair dyes,” said the federation in the statement. “Our industry rejoices in this confirmation, which clarifies the situation.”

However, a federation spokeswoman clarified that the 22 substances to be banned are almost never used in hair dyes manufactured in Europe these days.

In 2004, the European Union’s hair dye market generated 2.6 billion euros, or $3.25 billion at current exchange rates, representing around 8 percent of overall European cosmetics sales. More than 60 percent of EU women color their hair, six to eight times a year on average, according to the commission.

This story first appeared in the July 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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