Lawsuit Launched as Testing Finds Cancer-Causing Chemical in Nearly 100 Hair Care and Personal Care Products

The CEH (Center for Environmental Health in CA) filed a lawsuit in California against four companies that sell products containing 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 California state law.  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. 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 addition to many brand name shampoos and personal care products (see the full list), 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.

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