The largest hair dye producer in the country has removed a suspected cancer-causing ingredient from its entire product line.
Clairol Inc., a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Co., said it was taking the action because the Food and Drug Administration has identified the chemicals 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine and sultate as possible cancer causing agents.
The two major products involved are Miss Clairol and Nice N' Easy.
The two chemicals, known as 4MMPD and 4MMPD sulfate, have been linked to bladder cancer in laboratory animals, according to the National Cancer Institute.
According to Dr. John Menkart, Clairol's senior vice president for technology, the company completed modifying the formulation of its 200 different shades of dyes about a month ago, but it would be six months before all of the old products are off the shelves of stores.
The FDA earlier this year proposed warning labels for products containing the two controversial dyes. The warning label was to say:
"Contains an ingredient that can penetrate your skin and has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals."
In addition, because of the cancer institute findings, the FDA proposed that posters calling on consumers to look closely at labels on hair products be "prominently displayed" in all beauty parlors.
The FDA has not issued a final order on the warning or the posters, but that action is expected shortly, according to agency sources.
Meanwhile, Clairol's Menkart said, that company decided not to wait for the order to be issued.