This year, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reached legal agreements with 26 major companies to discontinue using a cancercausing chemical in shampoo and personal care products, and potential agreements with more than 100 additional companies are still pending. Cocamide diethanolamine (DEA), a synthetic chemical created from a chemical reaction between coconut oils and diethanolamine, has been used for decades in shampoos and other products as a foaming agent.
In 2012, California listed the chemical as a known carcinogen, based on assessment by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which evaluated skin exposure tests on animals. In 2013, the CEH brought lawsuits against companies selling products in California containing the substance without a health warning, as required under Prop 65, the state’s consumer protection law for toxic chemicals.
Note: A Think Dirty app offers information about the potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products and what not to buy.