Potassium bromate is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless chemical found in the neutralizing solution of cold wave home hair permanents and profesional solutions. Toxic ingestions of this substance were initially reported during the 1940s and 1950s and are characterized primarily by gastrointestinal symptoms, hearing impairment, and acute renal failure.1 Although many manufacturers have now substituted less toxic substances as neutralizers, use of potassium bromate in some hair permanent solutions continues, and poisonings from this substance still occur.2-4

Because renal failure from potassium bromate intoxication may be severe, dialysis may be necessary for replacement of renal function. Moreover, a major toxicology reference presently suggests that "if readily available, the prompt use of hemodialysis or peritoneal lavage may serve to remove absorbed but unreacted bromate in significant amounts."1

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