Objective: To determine the concentration of Para Phenylene Diamine in Henna (Mehndi) by using HPLC in cases of contact dermatitis.
Background: Paraphenylenediamine is a highly toxic substance which can cause contact dermatitis, hemolytic anemia, hepatic and renal failure. It gives permanent black color when applied to hair, skin, fabrics and Leather. It is also used as printing ink on news paper. The use of paraphenylenediamine is illegal in henna due to its adverse effects. A study was conducted to determine the presence and concentration of paraphenylene-diamine in henna products commercially available. In this study 61 cases of contact dermatitis were examined with a history of excessive use of Henna for making tattoo design on arms and hands. 03 (4.9%) children developed hemolytic anemia after 5 days. Suspected samples of henna were analyzed by using High Performance Liquid Chromatography to estimate the concentration of PPD in popular commercial brands of Henna (Mehndi). Results: It was found that all samples of black henna contain high concentration of paraphenylenediamine (11.2-31.4%). The color of Henna changes to black due to the presence of PPD, more the amount darker will be the color. Most victims were young females and children who initially presented with contact dermatitis but later after 5-7 days developed fatigue, muscular rigidity, fever and angioedema. Tracheotomy was performed to clear airway. Conclusion: It was concluded that use of Black henna is hazardous for human health and may cause localized and systemic effects depending upon the amount of henna applied. It is recommended that addition of paraphenylenediamine to natural henna should be prohibited in Pakistan. In addition, a public awareness program should be initiated especially in school and colleges about the risk of using black henna.