Common hazardous ingredients:

Amines, ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium thioglycolate, diethylenetriamine, lead (hair dye) phenacetin, vinyl acetatesome hair colorings contain cadmium, cobalt, copper, lead.

Potential hazards:

Irritant to the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Air pollutant.

Expectant mothers may unknowingly expose unborn children to hazardous chemicals absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream.


  • Follow label directions.
  • When using hair sprays, use in a well-ventilated area.
  • Avoid contact with eyes.


Keep container tightly closed when not in use and store in a secure area away from children.


Best: Use up or give away. Rinse container and dispose of in the garbage.

Second best: Take to a hazardous waste facility or collection event.

Third best: If you are connected to a city sewer system, flush small amounts down the drain (toilet is best) with lots of water. Do not use this method if you are on a septic system.


Ammonia-free hair-styling products pose less risk. In lieu of hair gel use coconut oil, shea butter, and/or olive oil to manage hair.


Just because a product is labelled ‘natural’ does not mean it does not contain harmful chemicals. Check the label.

Keep an eye for an ingredient labeled as “fragrances”. This term is unregulated and can conceal dozens of toxic ingredients.