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Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Hair dye allergy 'led to tragedy'
A severe allergy caused the death of Mrs Devi, the inquest heard.
A severe allergy caused the death of Mrs Devi, the inquest heard.
A coroner is to urge a cosmetic company to check the safety of its dyes after a severe allergic reaction killed a mother-of-three.

An inquest jury returned a verdict of misadventure in the case of 38-year-old Narinder Devi, who fell ill after using the hair dye at her home in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Birmingham Deputy Coroner Christopher Ball said he would write to the company involved, Laboratoires Garnier, to ask about the adequacy of their allergy sensitivity tests.

The hearing had been told that six other manufacturers ask customers to mix their dyes' colorant and developer before carrying out the tests, while in this case only the colorant had been tested.

Mrs Devi had been using Movida dye, produced by Laboratoires Garnier, for the first time when she suffered the fatal attack.

'Most likely'

The hearing was told that mother-of-three Mrs Devi, who ran a pharmacy with her husband Kapil Rajja, began struggling for breath as she used the dye in the kitchen of her home on August 25 last year.

Mrs Devi had previously suffered itchiness to her scalp from using hair dye, but her general health was fine.

Immunologist Richard Pumphrey told the inquest: "I think it's most likely that Narinder Devi died because of an anaphylactic reaction to the hair dye she used immediately before her sudden, fatal illness."


If the inquest has a purpose it is to ensure that what happened to my wife will not happen to other people

Kapil Hajja
In addition, pathologist Dr Rebecca Harrison confirmed that Mrs Devi had died of a "massive" anaphylactic reaction.

Laboratoires Garnier's UK managing director, Geoffrey Skingsley, told the inquest the company asked users to test just the colorant for an allergic reaction.

Summing up the evidence for the jury, the coroner said: "I am going to write to Garnier suggesting that they might care to consider following what other people in the industry seem to do and adopt the same sort of sensitivity test.

"It may be that for perfectly good scientific reasons that may not be possible, but certainly I will make that formal recommendation to see where we can minimise the risk."

In a statement after the verdict, Mr Rajja said: "I realise there is nothing that has happened today that will bring back my wife.

"However, if the inquest has a purpose it is to ensure that what happened to my wife will not happen to other people.

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