Houston, We Have a Shampoo Problem Tracey Harrington McCoy

Shampoo and body wash aren’t usually considered dangerous—yet a cancer-causing chemical called cocamide DEA has been found in hundreds of brand shampoos and soaps. And those same brands haven’t put any type of warning on the bottle to alert consumers. Kinda scary, right?

Cocamide diethanolamine, or cocamide DEA, is a chemically altered coconut oil. And many companies use it as a thickener or foaming agent in their shampoos, conditioners and soaps. The state of California listed the dangerous chemical as a carcinogen in 2012. Yet it’s still used in these products.

Oakland’s Center for Environmental Health recently filed lawsuits against companies selling products that contained the harmful carcinogen without the required health warning. And last week, they reached legal agreements with Colgate-Palmolive, Saks Inc., Walgreens and 23 other companies to stop using the ingredient altogether.

But not all companies have agreed to stop. The Center for Environmental Health has more than 100 ongoing lawsuits against companies that still use the harmful chemical. Let’s hope they’re settled soon so this dangerous component can be removed from our soaps and shampoos.

Is your shampoo safe? Here are some of the products involved in the agreements include: Prell Classic Clean Shampoo, Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Lemon Kitchen Hand Soap, Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo, Kinerase Gentle Daily Cleanser, Toys “R” Us 2-in-Shampoo and Conditioner, and Bed Head TIGI Brunette Goddess Shampoo. See the full list here.

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