June 15, 1963

Pulmonary Disease and Hair-Spray Polymers: A Disputed Relationship

Author Affiliations


From the schools of medicine (Drs. Brunner and Dunlap) and dentistry (Dr. Calandra), Northwestern University, Chicago; from the School of Medicine, Saint Louis University, St. Louis (Dr. Wyatt); and from the Medical Department of the Toni Co., Chicago (Dr. Giovacchini).

JAMA. 1963;184(11):851-857. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700240043006

Massive exposure of experimental animals to a vinylalkylether/maleic ester copolymer hair spray by inhalation did not produce granulomatous disease as described in alleged human cases. Intratracheal instillation of hair-spray solids also failed to reproduce the syndrome. In alleged cases of hair-spray thesaurosis, the connecting link was the presence of intracytoplasmic granules stained by the periodic acid-Schiff method and said to be particles of hair-spray resin. However, similar granules were found in a number of diverse pulmonary disorders in patients who had not been exposed to hair sprays, and the general staining characteristics of several hair-spray polymers did not correspond with those of the granules found in claimed instances of thesaurosis.