Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hair Color - Toxic Ammonia

What is the purpose of ammonia in hair colour?

The purpose of ammonia in hair dye is to help open up the cuticle layer of the hair to allow the color molecules to penetrate the hair. It also serves as an activator to peroxide in the colour developer and helps to form the color in the hair. Some formulas replace the ammonia with other alkalines to fulfil the same function.

What is ammonia?

Ammonia occurs naturally and is produced by human activity. It is an important source of nitrogen which is needed by plants and animals. Bacteria found in the intestines can produce ammonia.
Ammonia is a colorless gas with a very distinct odor. This odor is familiar to many people because ammonia is used in smelling salts, many household and industrial cleaners, and window-cleaning products.

Ammonia gas can be dissolved in water. This kind of ammonia is called liquid ammonia or aqueous ammonia. Once exposed to open air, liquid ammonia quickly turns into a gas.
Ammonia is applied directly into soil on farm fields, and is used to make fertilizers for farm crops, lawns, and plants. Many household and industrial cleaners contain ammonia.
It is on the CERCLA priority list of hazardous substances.

How can ammonia affect my health?

No health effects have been found in humans exposed to typical environmental concentrations of ammonia. However, exposure to higher levels of ammonia in the air may be irritating to your skin, eyes, throat, and lungs and cause coughing and burns. Lung damage and death may occur after exposure to very high concentrations of ammonia. Some people with asthma may be more sensitive to breathing ammonia than others.

Swallowing concentrated solutions of ammonia can cause burns in your mouth, throat, and stomach. Splashing ammonia into your eyes can cause burns and even blindness.

Ammonia is believed to be one of the main chemicals to cause respiratory disorders in hairdressers.

Source : ATSDR

Photo: Culture Mag


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