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Alopecia is the loss of hair.
There are many possible causes for alopecia, including natural aging, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune disorders, exposure to chemotherapeutic agents used in cancer treatment, as well as occupational exposure to certain other chemicals.
Proving a connection between shedding or hair or hair thinning and occupational exposure to certain chemicals is a difficult task at best (see Further Reading below for a case report and rebuttal). Kenerva's Occupational Dermatology has a chapter titled Chemically Induced Hair Loss/Alopecia (pp 1035-1042) that discusses hair loss in detail including
types of hair loss (e.g., anagen, medications precipitating telogen), chemicals causing hair loss (e.g., antimitotic agents, phenyl glycidyl ether), medications causing hair loss of unknown type (e.g., antithyroid drugs), medications possibly associated with hair loss, as well as chemically induced cosmetic alopecia, and typical scenarios in alleged occupational hair loss.
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Alopecia will generally occur on a Safety Data Sheet in section Section 11 (toxicological information) as a symptom, effect, or risk of exposure to the material.
Acute or chronic exposure to some chemicals may result in the temporary or permanent loss of hair. For example, a symptom of thallium (a heavy metal) poisoning is loss of hair. Hair loss is also a symptom of excessive radiation exposure and can also result from the use of chemotherapy (anticancer) drugs.
Of course, alopecia also has many other causes, including heredity, normal aging, and auto-immune disorders. See the links below for further information.
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See also: Heavy metal.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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