|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Hair dyes leaving nasty stains on human hormones 2002,8,1
Shukan Bunshun 8/8 By Ryann Connell
An estimated 90 percent of Japanese women in their 20s dye their hair a different color from its natural black -- and they may be ruining their son's sex lives in the process, according to Shukan Bunshun (8/8).
Hair dye sales have two boom periods over summer in Japan -- once at the start when young women gear up to go on overseas jaunts and kids on holidays escape school rules forbidding anything other than black tresses, and then again at the end, when everybody restores their mane to its natural state.
But research by the Japan Offspring Fund shows that hair dyes contain chemical substances that disrupt hormonal balance, raising the specter of such problems with reproductivity such as reduced sperm counts, impotence and sterility.
"Problems that can arise in fetuses and children are particularly alarming," the fund's Masami Niita tells Shukan Bunshun.
"The brain's development can also be affected as well as sexual functions. Some have already linked these substances with decreased IQs in children."
Shukan Bunshun says that nobody wants a dumb kid who'll grow up to be a flop in more ways than one.
The weekly outlines how fund researchers added hair dyes to breast cancer cells and left them for five days.
By the end of that period, the cancer cells had increased by at least 10 percent and up to 40 percent in one case.
It notes that hair dyes have also been linked with shrinkage of the womb.
"Hair dyes contain cancer-causing chemicals, yet consumers aren't being made aware of this," Niita tells Shukan Bunshun.
"There're so many cases out there of young mothers dying their children's hair together so they can have a matching look."
Japan Soap and Detergent Association surveys estimate that 90 percent of Japanese women in their 20s artificially color their hair.
Association members are quick to dismiss any danger.
"We've checked the safety over again and come to the decision that hair dyes are not dangerous," a spin-doctor for a major manufacturer in the booming hair dye industry tells Shukan Bunshun.
Competing companies back him up.
"People have been dyeing their hair since the Edo Period (1603-1868), but nobody's ever made these sorts of claims before," a spokesman for another company says.
"I wouldn't say (the fund's) experiments are a complete lie, but they can't be treated as the be-all and end-all."
It is true that hair dyes are not among the 65 items the Ministry of the Environment lists as emanating hormonal disruptin,g substances.
But that doesn't seem to matter much.
"That list the ministry released contains only a few of the actual items that emit the substances," Yasuzumi Iguchi, a Bioscience Center professor at the Okazaki National Research Center, tells Shukan Bunshun.
"We're going to find out more and more hormonal unbalancing substances as time goes on."
Medical doctor Hidenori Nakahara sends an ominous warning.
"First to be affected by these substances are fetuses and then children whose reproductive organs are still growing. Any women who could become pregnant, those who have already conceived and all children should avoid dying their hair," Nakahara tells Shukan Bunshun.
"It's not absolutely vital to change the color of hair anyhow. There's no need to be caught up in what others think about you. Still, hair dyes should be regarded in the same light as alcohol and tobacco."