It is common knowledge that pollution is a growing problem in the modern, industrialised world but would it ever cross your mind that environmental toxins can cause hair loss?
The City of New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA, has purchased three houses on Ruggles Street as part of a clean-up project. A former city burn dump, which was located at the current site of New Bedford High School, accepted industrial waste containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals during the 1930s and 1940s. Contaminated ash from the dump was later used as fill for surrounding wetlands. These wetlands went on to be developed for housing, churches, businesses, schools and sports fields. Along with the houses, the city has purchased land from the Bethal African Methodist Episcopal Church. These sites have all been found to be contaminated with excessive levels of potentially cancer-causing PCBs.
In 1986 J. Steven DaRosa built his 1700 square-foot house at 128 Ruggles Street on land owned by his father who lived next door. Neither was aware that toxic metals and PCBs were in the ground below. Once the demolition of the City-purchased houses is complete, DaRosa’s house will be one of just two residences left on lower Ruggles Street. According to results of a sample test taken by TRC Environmental Corporation (the city’s environmental contractor), DaRosa’s property shows excessive levels of PCBs, cadmium, chromium, lead and nickel.
The soil samples from his garden, where there is a maple tree, detected PCBs. DaRosa planted the tree 20 years ago and was digging in the contaminated area. PCBs were also detected in an area where his daughters played on a swing. DaRosa is concerned about his family’s health and his father, who lived next door, died from liver cancer in 2003.
PCBs, Health and Hair Loss
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say that PCBs have been known to cause cancer and other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.
DaRosa, now 49, said he began to lose patches of hair on his head at the age of 31. He later became bald and could no longer grow any facial hair. He was eventually diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune condition that causes sudden, patchy hair loss and can lead to total loss of scalp and body hair. DaRosa said, “My immune system is attacking my own hair system” and believes the condition is linked to the contamination on his land.
Can Alopecia Areata Be Treated?
It is possible to treat mild or early stage Alopecia Areata. There are two hair loss treatments that can be tailored to suit an individual. Minoxidil (for men and women) and Propecia (for men only). For stubborn bald patches, a high strength minoxidil is often prescribed, and can be used alongside a range of hair growth boosters. By tailoring these treatments to suit individual clients, Belgravia has successfully treated Alopecia Areata and a number of examples of clients’ regrowth can be seen in our Success Stories gallery.
For a diagnosis and advice on treatment, Belgravia offers a free consultation with a hair loss specialist. To book your appointment just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form for a consultation via the website and a mail order treatment service.
Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories:
“My (bald) patches are almost gone…”
“The regrowth is progressing. Can’t recommend highly enough. Fantastic!”
“The big patch of hair loss has gone and I’ve got my confidence back.”