Reproductive disorders due to chemical exposure among hairdressers

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1995 Oct;21(5):325-34. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.46.


The evidence for reproductive disorders due to chemical exposure among hairdressers was evaluated. To this end, a literature study was conducted on Medline for the years 1985-1993. Reproductive disorders in humans were described for solvents such as ethanol and dichloromethane found mainly in hair sprays. Reproductive effects of several dye formulations, ethylene glycol ethers, nitrosamines, formaldehyde, hexachlorophene, and phthalic esters cannot be excluded, but few human data on low concentrations of these agents were available. Associations with menstrual disorders and spontaneous abortions were found in epidemiologic studies focused on hairdressers. Other studies showed inconsistent results, probably due to methodological shortcomings (misclassification of exposure, small sample sizes). It is concluded that there is little evidence for reproductive disorders among hairdressers to date. Limited availability of human data and unknown effects of chemical mixtures call for future research focused on human reproductive risks among hairdressers with emphasis on exposure assessment in the hairdressing salon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / chemically induced*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Hair Preparations / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infertility, Female / chemically induced*
  • Menstruation Disturbances / chemically induced*
  • Netherlands
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Risk Factors


  • Hair Preparations