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New Warnings on Nonoxynol-9, and Spermicide in Your Hair Dye?

December 18, 2007

The FDA is requiring new labeling for Nonoxynol-9 spermicide products, in order to indicate that these contraceptives do not reduce the risk of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. The warning is being added to stand-alone products (like the spermicidal gels you insert via a little applicator) only, but apparently not to condoms that include the chemical (presumably because the condom itself does protect against STIs). Shorter version of the FDA: spermicides are for pregnancy prevention only.

The FDA is also requiring that the revised labels “warn consumers that the chemical N9 in stand-alone vaginal contraceptives and spermicides can irritate the vagina and rectum, which may increase the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS from an infected partner.”

In looking for some info on the product, I looked in the Household Products Database (which tells you about the ingredients and risks of things like shampoos, cleaners, etc.), and I learned two things:

1) The Household Products Database does not include any over-the-counter contraceptive products in its “Personal Care” category.

2) Nonoxynol-9 is also an ingredient in the developer agent in many hair colorants.

Update: The Blog that Ate Manhattan has some really good stuff on this topic today.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2007 12:57 pm

    Who knew we needed to protect our hair from sperm…What in the world is Nonoxynol-9 doing in hair dye in the first place? This is very interesting, thanks for this post and you have a very good blog.

  2. December 24, 2007 7:50 am

    That is so weird that Nonoxynol is in hair dye? I wonder why this is. I enjoyed reading your post and am going to research this further. It has certainly sparked my interest.

  3. December 25, 2007 5:55 pm

    Isn’t that weired? Thanks for your comments, I’ve been away for a bit, but wanted to acknowledge them.

  4. Raquel permalink
    March 20, 2009 9:27 pm

    Not only in hair dye… I read labels on EVERYTHING! I actually found it in many brands of ANGEL FOOD CAKE! Yuck! I’ve had adverse reactions to Nonoxinol 9 in the past, so when i saw it on the ingredient list, I had to pass on that too! Great blog By the way!

  5. Monica permalink
    October 6, 2009 6:30 pm

    I imagine since it can kill those pesky spermy, it likely keeps other pests out of products like angel food cake and hair dye. It probably acts as a preservative of sorts, keeping your processed foods and products free of pesky little living things.


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