The same shampoo that makes your hair smell great could also cause cancer.
According to the Center for Environmental Health, 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products you'll find on store shelves contain a cancer-causing chemical.
The chemical, cocamide diethanolamine (or cocamide DEA), is a form of coconut oil that's been chemically modified. It is used as a thickener or foaming agent in many products.
In many cases, the products CEH evaluated included more than 10,000 ppm of the chemical — it made up 20 percent of one shampoo. In June, California listed cocamide DEA as a chemical known to cause cancer based on the information from The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which tests on animals.
So which products contain cocamide DEA? Shampoos made by Colgate Palmolive, Colomer and Paul Mitchell are a few on the list. Popular brands such as Prell, Organix and BIOSILK are on the list. The chemical was found in store-brand products from Trader Joe's, Pharmaca, Walmart and Kohl's. A bubble bath from Kmart and a children's shampoo/conditioner from Babies R Us contained cocamide DEA. Some products marketed to children were also falsely labeled as organic because they contained the chemical.
This is why the CEH filed a lawsuit against four companies that sell products containing the chemical. The organization has sent legal notices to more than 100 other companies to inform them that their product violates California state law.
"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, the CEH's executive director. "We expect companies to take swift action to end this unnecessary risk to our children's and families' health."
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