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Hair Related Death

Long Wavy Hair From Barbara Lhotan

Hair Related Death

As a young child, hair related death, was a topic of conversation in my maternal aunt's hair salon nestled into the basement of her South St. Louis home.

I remember sitting on the floor while my mom got her hair cut and my aunt shared a hair related death story about a women who died from complications of receiving a chemical perm.

Death By Perm

The hair related death occurred because a woman had let her husband giver her a perm.  He left the solution on too long which resulted in severe scalp and skin burns.  Other medical complications were triggered as a result of the severe scalp burns.  The woman suffered a stroke and ultimately died.

Of course I sat silently in the shadows of the basement beauty shop and promised myself never to do anything to my strands which might lead to hair related death.

Hair on the human head is a basic covering for our scalps.  It's designed to provide heat insulation, cooling and protection against ultra-violent radiation exposure.  Although many people feel challenged by some aspect of their hair, most would probably not consider hair related death as one of those challenges.

Amilcar Similar To One Which Isadora Duncan Rode In At Time Of Her Death

While people with textured hair might long for silky straight strands and brunettes might wish to be blonde, hair related death doesn't usually play into the equation of ongoing consumer hair battles.

Hair is not as innocuous at it may seem.  It can, in fact, lead to death.  It happens a lot more often than most people might think.

Death From Entanglement

Famed ballerina Isadora Duncan was famous for wearing flowing scarves around her head and hair.  The flowing scarves also were worn around her neck.

It's been documented that the beautiful dancer died when her flowing scarves became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle of the Amilcar she was riding in.  Ultimately the tangled scarves broke her neck.

Whether Ms. Duncan was wearing scarves at the time to cover her hair or her neck, the same principle applies to hair related death when long tresses become accidentally entangled in any type of machinery.

Swimming Pool Water

Death By Machinery

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1980 and 1998, occupational injury involving machinery, including falls and workers being pulled into machines by loose clothing or hair, was ranked third after motor vehicle and homicide as a cause of death.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also monitors hair related death and has confirmed that hair becoming entangled in a wide range of equipment may cause death, scalping and facial disfigurement.

In response to the potential dangers that most people don't consider, OSHA has published regulations for how hair should be worn and secured around machinery.  Employers can be held held liable for any injuries or hair related death due to improperly covered, protected or secured hair.

Death From Pool Drains

Hair related death due to entrapment or entanglement in pools, spas and hot tubs are also confirmed.  Between January 1990 and August of 2004 there were twelve known incidents of drowning deaths which resulted from hair becoming entangle in drains in pools, spas or hot tubs as reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety council.

The age of the victims were between 4 and 42 the the majority of the victims being under the age of 15.

Experts believe prevention of hair related death can occur with proper eduction of parents who should make sure that their children always secure their hair before swimming or entering spas or hot tubs.  The possibility of hair related death from swimming just doesn't occur to a lot of people until tragedy happens.

Clairol Nice & Easy Haircolor

Home Chemical Treatment Risks

While the majority of home chemical treatments are generally considered hair related death can occur if the consumer suffers from an severe allergic reaction to the product's ingredients.

In October of 2011 the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported on the case of seventeen-year-old Tabatha McCourt from Lanarkshire, England who died in a hospital after what medics suspect was a severe allergic reaction to p-phenylenediamine, or PPD, a chemical found in permanent hair dye.

A month later, in November of 2011, a British woman reportedly collapsed into a coma while dying her hair with L'Oreal Preference hair dye.

Doctors reported a concern that she was suffering from a severe reaction to the hair dye.  The case of a woman dying from an adverse reaction to the glue used in her fusion hair extensions was also reported.

Importance Of Patch Tests

Many professional hair experts strongly advise that all consumers do patch tests before undertaking any home hair coloring or chemical treatments which might prove fatal.

Of course any time there is any type of physical reaction from the application of hair dyes, chemicals or glues, a physician should be immediately called.

Blow Dryer With Attachments

Death By Politics

Hair related death can occur as a result of politics.  It was reported by the media that 90 students in Iraq were attacked and stoned for wearing their hair in the popular, but controversial, Emo hairstyle.

The Daily Mail reported that at least 14 of the Emo coiffed youths were killed in the capital of Baghdad for their hairstyles.

Hairstyles can also trigger bullying in some circles.  Although there is no reports of death from bullying, the incidence of suicide has risen dramatically by those students bullied for their appearance or other factors.

Can their hairstyle play a part in their death?  Did it cause their initial bullying?  Those facts can't be quantified, but it's always a possible piece of the puzzle.

Hair Related Death By Hair Dryers

As reported by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the early 1980's there was an average of 18 electrocutions each year involving hand-held hair dryers. Most of these deaths occurred when the hair dryer fell, or was pulled, into a bathtub of water.

Cooking With Fire

From 1990 through 1992, there was an average of only four electrocutions a year associated with hair care equipment.

The decrease in hand hair dryer related death occurred as a direct result of the work of the CPSC to improve the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards for hair dryers and overall consumer safety.

Death from hair dryers as of 2012 are a rare event due to the work of CPSC to provide complete protection for hand-held hair dryers by requiring all manufacturers incorporate electrocution protection into all related products.

Death By Fire

Actress Kristin Chenoweth told Ellen DeGeneres during a past visit to her show that she accidentally caught her long hair on fire when it brushed across a candle lit on the back of her toilet.  The star of the ABC show "GCB" repeated the burning hair story on a recent show with Anderson Cooper.

When hair catches on fire it's no laughing matter.  There have been deaths due to hair of all lengths catching on fire and resulting in serious, if not fatal burns.   Hair can be even more flammable when styled with certain types of alcohol based products.

Empire Beauty School Instructor With Blow Dryer

Death By Parental Neglect

Recently Brigit Hippen of Hutchinson, Kansas made national news with the hand held blow dryer death of her 2-month old daughter Karina Perez.  The 20-year-old mother left a hair dryer running to warm her baby daughter on a cold night.

The mother fell asleep with the dryer perched on a counter in the bathroom where the baby's bassinet had been placed.  The dryer caused the baby's temperature to reach a fatal 108 degrees.


Hair is not as innocuous as it may seem and it can lead to death in a number of instances.  It happens a lot more often than most people might think.

The good news? All hair related death can be avoided by taking proper precautions around machinery, near open fire, in swimming pools and with all types of  home chemical treatments.

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