The Center for Environmental Health has found that 98 soaps and shampoos contain cocamide diethanolamine, (or cocamide DEA) an ingredient that is illegal in California as it may be carcinogenic to humans.
Cocamide DEA is coconut oil that has been chemically modified to act as a thickener or foaming agent. Aside from drying out your skin, Cocamide DEA can combine with preservatives to form very dangerous chemicals called nitrosamines. The Environmental Protection Agency has noted that there have been acute responses to exposure to DEA in some people, including respiratory problems and skin reactions. However, it has not classified the ingredient as a carcinogenic toxic substance.
Some of the products that contain high levels of the illegal chemical are sold under big brand names such as Colgate Palmolive, Paul Mitchell, and Prell. Lab tests also found the carcinogen in children’s products, such as a store brand bubble bath from KMart, and a shampoo/conditioner from Babies R Us. A falsely labeled ‘organic’ product by Africa’s Best Organics was also found to contain the questionable ingredient.
The Center for Environmental Health is suing four companies that make or sell these contaminated products, targeting Walgreens, Lake Consumer Products, Vogue International, and Ultimark Products. They have also sent legal notices to over 100 companies that sell and/or produce soaps and shampoos that contain cocamide DEA. However, since the FDA has not banned the possible carcinogen, the companies will not be facing a federal offense.
Another good reason to read labels, LivLunatics–just because a government agency hasn’t classified something as being a carcinogen doesn’t mean that it’s all good! What’s your take on the potentially toxic chemicals? Are you going to join the “no-poo” movement?