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Outlawed Carcinogen Found in 98 Shampoos, Soaps

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98 bottles of shampoo on the wall, 98 bottles of shampoo. Take them down, test them around, 98 bottles of cancer-causing-carcinogen-containing shampoo on the wall!

That’s not quite a catchy tune, but the facts aren’t much to sing about, either. The Center for Environmental Health, based in Oakland, California, did some independent laboratory tests on 98 shampoos and soaps to determine if they contained cocamide diethanolamine, also known as cocamide DEA, a chemical that is outlawed in the state of California because it is possibly carcinogenic to humans. The ingredient is a chemically-modified form of coconut oil that acts as thickener or foaming agent.

Some of the products that contain high levels of the illegal chemical are sold under well-known companies 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. Other store brand products that contain the carcinogen came from Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Kohl’s. A falsely labeled ‘organic’ product was also found in violation, made by Organic by Africa’s Best, a company that has been in trouble for their misleading labels before.

Now that the results are in, the Center for Environmental Health is suing four companies that make or sell these contaminated products. Walgreens, Lake Consumer Products, Vogue International, and Ultimark Products, makers of Prell, are targeted. The CEH have also sent legal notices to more than 100 companies that produce and/or sell items containing cocamide DEA.

“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 Center for Environmental Health.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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