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What is p-Phenylenediamine?

p-Phenylenediamine is a dark dye used in almost all permanent hair dyes and some semi-permanent hair coloring.

Where is p-phenylenediamine found?

At work, you may find p-phenylenediamine in the following:

  • Dyes and coloring agents for textiles, furs and other products
  • Permanent and some semi-permanent hair dyes
  • Photographic developers
  • Temporary, paint-on and black henna tattoos
  • Black rubber products and equipment parts
  • Printing inks

At home, you may find p-phenylenediamine in the following:

  • Permanent and some semi-permanent hair coloring products
  • Photographic developers
  • Textile and fur dyes
  • Temporary, paint-on and black henna tattoos
  • Coloring agents for facial hair
  • Printing inks

How can you avoid p-phenylenediamine?

  • Only use products that do not list p-phenylenediamine or related chemicals on the label, ingredients list or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). If there is no information, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
  • Tell your physician, pharmacist, dentist, veterinarian, beautician and hairdresser that you are allergic to p-phenylenediamine. Ask for preparations that do not contain p-phenylenediamine or related substances.
  • Be sure to test any hair coloring products before use according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • You may also react to some textile dyes related to p-phenylenediamine. Talk to your doctor about avoiding clothing, fabric and furs in certain colors.
  • If you must use products containing p-phenylenediamine on others, wear protective gloves. Utility and disposable gloves made of natural or synthetic rubber, or vinyl, may provide sufficient protection for working with p-phenylenediamine depending on the product.
  • If you think that you contact p-phenylenediamine at work, ask your employer for MSDS or manufacturer information on the product(s). Talk to your employer about using a different product or wearing protective gloves and clothing.

What should you look for and avoid in products?

Avoid products that list any of the following names in the ingredients, MSDS or package insert.

  • p-Phenylenediamine or paraphenylenediamine; 4-phenylenediamine; phenylenediamine;
  • p-diaminobenzene; 4-aminoaniline; 1,4-benzenediamine; 1,4-diaminobenzene
  • You may also react to p-phenylenediamine-related substances in textiles, hair colorings and other products:
  • Aniline yellow dyes such as p-aminoazobenzene or p-Dimethylaminoazobenzene
  • 4,4-Methylenedianiline in some rubbers, plastics and epoxy resins
  • Other aminobenzene-related compounds
  • Disperse Orange dye 1-Amino-2-methylanthraquinone
  • Hair dye p-toluenediamine

The best way to treat your allergy is avoidance.


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