Illegal Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Nearly 100 Shampoo Brands

Bath

Cocamide Diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a controversial ingredient found in body care items, has landed four personal care manufacturers with a lawsuit in California.

The Center for Environmental Health filed the suit after discovering the presence of cocamide DEA, the foam stabilizer and volumizer, in shampoos and soaps. In the state of California, Proposition 65 requires manufacturers to warn consumers over the risks of certain substances. Cocamide DEA is on that list because it is a suspected carcinogen. It was banned in the state last year after a study found it caused cancer in laboratory animals.

While the lawsuit only targeted several brands, dozens more were sent letters. Among the brands that tested positive for cocamide DEA, were Kmart and Babies R Us, both for children’s products, and the brand Organix, which, as the brand’s name indicates, positions itself as a natural product line even though it contains insignificant amounts—if any—organic ingredients.

According to a press release on the CEH website, cocamide DEA was also found in “store-brand products purchased at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Pharmaca, and Kohl’s.” Adding, “Falsely labeled organic products from Organic by Africa’s Best also tested for high levels of the cancer-causing chemical.”

“Most people believe that products sold in major stores are tested for safety, but consumers need to know that they could be doused with a cancer-causing chemical every time they shower or shampoo,” said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. “We expect companies to take swift action to end this unnecessary risk to our children’s and families’ health.”

A complete list of the brands and products that tested positive for cocamide DEA can be found on the CEH website.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. Twitter @jillettinger | www.jillettinger.com.