PPD Chemicals in Hair Dye Blamed for Teenage Girl´s Death

A preliminary investigation into the death of Tabatha McCourt has suggested that PPD chemicals in hair dye she was using at the time were responsible for causing the violent fit which lead to the teenager´s death.

Tabatha (17) from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, had been dyeing her hair with a hair product containing para-Phenylenediamine (PPD) at a friend´s home, when she suddenly rushed from the bathroom screaming in agony.  After a period of vomiting she collapsed into a heap and, despite an ambulance being summoned immediately, she died shortly after at Monklands General Hospital, Lanarkshire.

Investigators examining Tabatha´s death have pointed to the PPD chemicals in hair dye – suggesting that Tabatha could have suffered a rare allergic reaction to the chemical. PPD is added to hair dyes as it withstands hot temperatures from hair dryers and does not fade readily with washing and drying.

However, PPD chemicals in hair dye have been identified as a contact allergen which should not be applied directly to the skin, come into contact with the eyes, inhaled or ingested. People who regularly work with PPD chemicals in hair dye have previously reported allergic reactions to PPD and the chemical is believed to also cause lung irritation, damage the nervous system and potentially be carcinogenic.

Although the final cause of Tabatha´s death will not be known until after a post-mortem has been performed, hair dye manufacturers have repeated their advice that nobody should use hair dye containing PPD chemicals without first conducting a 48 hour patch test.