A CALL has been made for the hair dye chemical believed to be behind the death of a teenage girl to be banned.

Tabatha McCourt, 17, of Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, died shortly after collapsing at a friend’s house after she put para-phenylenediamine (PPD) into her hair on Saturday. She is believed to have suffered an extremely severe allergic reaction to the substance.

The tragedy has left her shocked family demanding answers.

Now an English-based lawyer, who is representing a woman who suffered a severe allergic reaction to the chemical in a case against a major cosmetics firm, has said more needs to be done to warn the public about the risks.

Greg Almond wants products containing PPD to be removed from the shops in the wake of Tabatha’s death, the second in 10 years.

He has written to MPs calling for them to lead an investigation and launched an e-petition at Westminster in the hope it will attract enough signatures to instigate a parliamentary debate on the subject.

Tabatha collapsed while watching the TV show X-Factor on Saturday night and began tugging at her hair and screaming. She later died in hospital.

Police say her death is “unexplained” and are awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination.

Mr Almond said: “Use of PPD is a wide-scale problem which is not confined to certain products. Greater public awareness regarding the dangers is needed.

“My client had suffered a severe allergic reaction to the chemical PPD contained within the hair dye. Without emergency treatment the effects of this reaction could have been devastating.

“This chemical can be extremely dangerous and has been banned by a number of European countries.”

PPD is used to darken hair and is also a prominent component of the fur trade.

However, it is known to cause an allergic reaction in about 2% of the UK population, which can range from a mild rash to a more severe anaphylactic episode.

Tabatha is the second person in the UK to die from a suspected reaction to the substance during the past 10 years. Mother-of-three Narinder Devi from Birmingham died after dyeing her hair in 2001.

Other side-effects associated with a PPD allergy include hair loss, burning sensations in the scalp and tissue swelling so severe it can leave sufferers unrecognisable.

Mr Almond, who is based in Manchester, added: “I want to make people aware of the potential dangers of using hair dye and in particular this chemical component PPD.

“The chemical can be found in many products not just hair dye. We need to raise awareness regarding a risk that many consumers may be completely unaware of. The chemical can also be found in henna tattoos, printing inks, fur dyes and other cosmetics.

“I’m calling on the Government to conduct an urgent review in to the sale of products containing this chemical.”

The cosmetics industry issues guidelines on how to use hair dye and advises people to carry out a small test on a piece of skin to see if there is any adverse reaction before applying the product fully.

Many companies are also currently researching a way to produce hair dye without using PPD.