Abu Dhabi officials have announced the ban of chemicals used to darken henna that can be harmful to users.
Traces of additives such as benzene, petroleum and P-phenylenediamine (PPD) have been found in henna paste at some of the emirate’s salons, the official news agency WAM reports.
The chemicals can cause severe allergic reactions and “serious health complications” if they are added to the natural dye, health officials said.
The move follows a recent study which suggested that high rates of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in Emirati women could be caused by synthetic forms of henna dye.
Khalifa Mohammed Al Rumaithi, acting director of the public health division at Abu Dhabi municipality, warned salons against using such substances.
He said the dyes would be “immediately confiscated and appropriate legal action will be taken against the offender, which may go as far as closing the facility altogether, abolishing its commercial license, preventing it from practicing business, and imposing a hefty fine.”
Al Rumaithi also urged women to check with salons about the products they are using before booking appointments.
"The Municipality is carrying out regular campaigns and surprise visits to these facilities to ensure compliance with the health conditions and safety of substances along with their sources to make sure that they comply with the latest standards and align them with the Municipality's endeavors to ensure a healthy and safe environment," Al Rumaithi told the news agency.
The study by the UAE University in Al Ain found that Emirati women are almost twice as likely as men to develop leukaemia, while they were also 63 percent more likely to be affected than expatriate women.
“I could not understand the results because men and women live in the same environment; they eat the same foods and breathe the same air. The only difference was the use of henna,” Dr Inaam Hassan, an associate professor at the university, said at the time.
Benzene is also found in petrol and tobacco smoke and is known to be carcinogenic and can affect the liver, lungs, heart and kidneys.