After April 16, 1980, the following words will be added to labels of some hair dyes that are shipped across state lines: "Warning. Contains an ingredient that can penetrate your skin and has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals."
Food and Drug Administration officials have been working for about two years to get that warning added to the labels. But that is about as far as they can go.
The FDA's hands are tied because coal tar hair dyes have been exempt since 1938 from the adulteration section of food, drug, and cosmetic laws. Says Sherwin Gardner of the agency, "The FDA long has urged Congress to repeal this exemption. The agency thinks these dyes should be subject to the same safety regulations that are applied to other cosmetics."
The warning requirement that goes into effect next April applies to all permanent hair dyes shipped interstate that contain