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Study Finds Cancer-Causing Chemical in Nearly 100 Shampoos and Soaps

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) revealed independent testing on Tuesday finding a cancer-causing chemical in 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products sold by major national retailers. The chemical, cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a chemically-modified form of coconut oil used as a thickener or foaming agent in many products, was listed by California as a known carcinogen last year.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Products tested with high levels of cocamide DEA include shampoos made by Colgate Palmolive, Colomer, Paul Mitchell and many others. In addition, products marketed for children and a product falsely labeled as organic were found with the chemical, in violation of California law.

CEH filed a California lawsuit Tuesday against four companies that sell products containing cocamide DEA, and the nonprofit has sent legal notices to more than 100 other companies that produce and/or sell cocamide DEA-tainted products that their products violate 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, executive director of CEH. “We expect companies to take swift action to end this unnecessary risk to our children’s and families’ health.”

In addition to many brand name shampoos and personal care products (see the full list, below), the CEH testing found cocamide DEA in store-brand products purchased at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Pharmaca and Kohl’s. A store brand children’s bubble bath from Kmart and a children’s shampoo/conditioner from Babies R Us were also found with cocamide DEA. Falsely labeled organic products from Organic by Africa’s Best also tested for high levels of the cancer-causing chemical (CEH previously won a legal settlement with this company requiring it to end its use of phony organic labels).

CEH has purchased the shampoos and other products containing cocamide DEA at Bay Area, CA, locations of major retailers and from online retailers since June, and commissioned an independent lab to determine the total content of the chemical in the products. In many cases, products contain more than 10,000 ppm cocamide DEA, and one shampoo tested at more than 200,000 ppm (20 percent) cocamide DEA. California listed cocamide DEA in June 2012 as a chemical known to cause cancer based on the assessment by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which evaluated skin exposure tests on animals.  

PRODUCT

BRAND NAME

COMPANY

RETAILER

Classic clean shampoo (for all hair types)

Prell

Ultimark Products

Walgreens

Medicated Conditioning Shampoo

MG217

Lake Consumer Products

Rite Aid

Daily Shampoo

American Crew Classic

American Crew

Kmart

Olive Oil Shampoo

Organics by Africa's Best

House of Cheatham

Glamour Beauty Supply

Caprice (Acti-Ceramidas Shampoo)

Palmolive

Colgate-Palmolive Co.

FoodMaxx

Mane 'n Tail Shampoo

Straight Arrow

Straight Arrow Products

FoodMaxx

Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo

Ouidad

Ouidad Products

Sephora

TUI (moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo)

Carols Daughter

Carols Daughter Products

Sephora

Brilliance Shampoo

Rusk

Rusk

Kmart

Kid's Bubble Bath (Bubble Gum Scent)

Little Ones/Kmart

Kmart

Kmart

Clasic Herbal Essence Shampoo (all hair types)

Vanart

Made by Estilo Y Vanidad, Distributed by Midway Importing

Kmart

Therapeutic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

TopCare

Topco Associates, LLC

Lucky

Cleanse Hydrating Shampoo

BIOSILK

Farouk Systems

Lucky

Maximum Strength Medicated Dandruff Shampoo

Equate

Walmart

Walmart

Awapuhi Ginger Shampoo

Organix

Vogue International

Walgreens

"Ricitos de Oro" Chamomile Baby Shampoo

Grisi

 unknown

Walgreens

Cabellino Shampoo Chile Con Romero

Grandall

Grandall Dist. Co

Kmart

Dandruff Shampoo Selenium Sulfide

Image Essentials

Kmart

Kmart

Nutress Hair Protein Pack Treatment Shampoo

nutresshair

Gabel’s Cosmetics, Inc.

Glamour Beauty Supply

Treatment Curly Hair Moisturizing Shampoo Keratin and Cupuacu Butter

nuNAAT

nuNAAT

Glamour Beauty Supply

Luxury Care 3 Plus Frizz Control Shampoo

Luxury Care

Inspired Beauty Brands, Inc.

Glamour Beauty Supply

Anti Breakage Neutralizing Shampoo Gel

Mega Growth

Strength Of Nature

Glamour Beauty Supply

Tea Tree Special Shampoo

Paul Mitchell

John Paul Mitchell Systems

Glamour Beauty Supply

Plant Extracts & Moroccan Argan oil Dry, Itchy Scalp Shampoo Controls Dandruff

At One With Nature

BioCare Lab

Glamour Beauty Supply

Gentle Cleansing & Conditioning Shampoo Aromatic Natural Essences pH balanced

Calm Cleanse

Johnson Products Co.

Glamour Beauty Supply

Hair Polisher Shampoo with "Sparkle Lites"

Fantasia

Fantasia Industries

Glamour Beauty Supply

African Essence Neutralizing Shampoo Plus Proteins and Conditioners

African Essence

Universal Beauty Products

Glamour Beauty Supply

VIA Natural Style Moisturizing Shampoo

VIA

Universal Beauty Products

Glamour Beauty Supply

Fair Trade Honey Shampoo

Lush

Lush

Lush

Sunflower & Coconut Detangling Conditioning Shampoo

Crème Of Nature

Colomer USA

Safeway

Medicated Shampoo Slednium Sulfide Dandruff Shampoo

up&up

Target

Target

Salon Shampoo (for Extra-Dry Hair)

Parnevu

Advantage Research Laboratories

Lynas Beauty Depot

Shea Butter Shampoo

Sofn'freen'pretty

M&M Products Company

Lynas Beauty Depot

Conditioning Shampoo

Luster's Pink Brand

Luster Products, Inc.

Lynas Beauty Depot

Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo

Palmer's

E.T. Browne Drug Co.

Lynas Beauty Depot

Neutralizing Shampoo (With DL Panthenol)

Vitale

AFAM Concept

Lynas Beauty Depot

Extra Moisturizing Hand Wash

Dermasil/Rise International Group LLC

Rise International Group

99 Cent Only Stores

Moisturizing Shampoo with Panthenol (Placenta & Vitamin E)

La Bella

Newhall Laboratories, Inc.

99 Cent Only Stores

Despicable Me Hand Wash (tickled pink rose bonbon)

Delon Laboratories

Delon Laboratories

99 Cent Only Stores

Tingling Gro Shampoo with Flaking Control

Doo Gro

Nature's Protein

Sally Beauty Company

KeraCare  Anti-Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo

KeraCare

Avlon Industries, Inc.

Macy's

Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo

Folicure

Alberto Culver USA

Sally Beauty Company

Mixed Berry Anti-Bacterial Foaming Hand Soap

Simple Pleasures

Tri-Coastal Design

Kohl's

Vanilla Rose Bubble Bath

Simple Pleasures

Paula Scaletta Licensed to Tri-Coastal Design

Kohl's

berry burst shower gel

scentsations by bodysource

Made Especially for Kohl's Department Store

Kohl's

Lemon Handwash  Gift Set

Brompton and Langley

Upper Canada Soap

Sears

French Lavender Hand and Body Wash Gift Set

Amelie's Garden

Upper Canada Soap

Sears

Moroccanoil Extra Volume Shampoo

Moroccanoil

Moroccanoil

Blooming Beauty

Julius Caesar Redreshing Citrus Scent Concentrated Shower Gel

Zirch Warrior Collection

TPR Holdings LLC

Marshalls

I love Vanilla & Ice Cream Bubble Bath and Shower Gel

I love…

I love cosmetics limited

Ross

Coconut Lime Handsoap

Pure Passion

Biolab International Inc.

Ross

Lalaloopsy Cotton Candy Bubble Bath

Lalaloopsy

Added Extras

Ross

Super Minty Soapy Suds Body wash + Bubbling Bath

Bliss

Bliss

Ross

Olive & Shea Mositurizing Shower Wash Vanilla Spice

Tree Hut

Naterra International

Ross

Organic Cleanse Deep Cleansing Shampoo with Oatmeal Protein

Design Essentials

McBride Research Laboratories

JC Penny

Moisturizing Shampoo for all hair types

Body Time

Body Time

Body Time

Lemon Kitchen Hand Soap

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

All Natural moisturizing Shower Gel Yuzu

ShiKai

ShiKai Products

Andronico's

2 in1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Toys R Us

Toys R Us

Babies 'R' Us

Body Wash ylang ylang & ginger

Pharmaca

Pharmaca

Pharmaca

avocado oil moisturizing shower gel

Australian Organics

Kent Cosmetics

TJ Maxx

Lemon Balm White Musk Hand Wash

D&H Australia

Dickens  & Hawthorne Australia

TJ Maxx

Eucalyptus Aloe Hand Soap

CST

CST

TJ Maxx

Honey B Crème Handwash

Scottish Fine Soaps

Scottish Fine Soaps Company

TJ Maxx

Enriched wtith Argan oil Restorative Shampoo

Beauty Products Mgoador

Chic Cosmetic Ind.

TJ Maxx

White Nectarine & Pear Cleansing Hand Wash

Boutique

Grace Cole Co.

TJ Maxx

Lavender Conditioning Handwash

Brown & Harris England

HotHouse Partnerships LTD

TJ Maxx

English Rose Moisturizing Hand Wash

A & S

Asquith & Somerset

TJ Maxx

Best Face Forward Daily Foaming Cleanser Passionfruit + Green Tea

Formula 10.0.6

Aspire Brands

Ulta

Triple Action Bath, Shower, & Hair Wash Revitalizing Rosemary Mint

c. Booth simple. Natural. Trusted.

Freeman Beauty Labs/ pH Beauty Labs

Ulta

Advanced Volume Shampoo with Expansion Technology

Nick Chavez

Perfect Plus

Ulta

Bubble Bath Calm One with lemon balm

Calm All

The Soap & Glory Cosmetics

Sephora

Lemon Basil Shea Butter Hand Soap

Michel Design Works

Michel Design Works

Bristol Farms

Philip B. Peppermint & Avocado Volumizing and Clarifying Shampoo

Phillip B.

Phillip B Inc.

Bloomingdale's

Lemon Verbena Hand Wash Gel

Accessory Zone

Accessory Zone

Sears

Mango Body Wash

Boots

The Boots Company

Target

Citrus Blush Shower Gel

Champneys

Boots Retail

Target

White Tea and Ginger Neutralizing Shampoo

Ampro/Pro Styl/ Neutra Foam

Ampro Industries

Lucky

Lychee Flower Hand And Body Wash

Mor

Mor

Nordstrom Rack

Zinc Shampoo

DHS

Person & Covey Inc.

hairenvy.com

Bubble Bath Sweet Water

RRYSpa

RRYSpa

burlington coat factory

Skinny Girl Shower Gel Margarita

Skinny Girl

Lotta Luv

burlington coat factory

Peppermint Bubble Bath

Elegant Home Design

Elegant Home Design

burlington coat factory

Apothecary Lemon Verbana Bath and Shower Gel

Apothecary

International Design Associates

burlington coat factory

French Lavender Cleansing Hand Wash

Baylis & Harding England

Baylis & Harding PLC

burlington coat factory

American Crew Classic Daily Shampoo

American Crew

American Crew

Saks Fifth Avenue

Herb Hand Soap

Daiso

Daiso Industries

Daiso

Hair Plump Volumizing Shampoo

Big & Bold

Fisk Industries

Beauty Palace

Blondes Lemon flower Shampoo

ARTEC

ARTec Systems Group

Beauty Palace

Rejuvi Shower Cream

Rejuvi

Rejuvi Laboratory Inc.

Dermstore.com

The Revitalizer Body Wash (Cucumber + Grapefruit)

Portico

Portico Home + Spa

Dermstore.com

Colour Protecting Caviar Shampoo

Kelly Van Gogh

Kelly Van Gogh LLC

Dermstore.com

Walnut Body Scrub

Banzai Living Inc

Banzai Living Inc

Ichiban Kan

Clear Lemon & Mint Body Soap

Aroma Resort

PMAI

Ichiban Kan

Bath/Shower Gelee with Green Tea and Aloe

Dr. Michelle Copeland

Dr. Michelle Copeland Skin Care

Dermstore.com

Lavender Shower Gel with cucumber, arnica, and aloe vera

elizabeth W san francisco

E Wightnan & Co

Dermstore.com

Caring Hand Wash Fig & Pink Cedar

Nougat London

Nougat London

Tuesday Morning

Hydrating Shampoo

Moroccanoil

Moroccanoil

Regis Salon

 

 

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