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center for environmental health

Major Retailers Sell Carcinogenic Shampoos, Lawsuit Claims

center for environmental healthNearly 100 shampoos and personal care products made by Colgate Palmolive, Colomer, Paul Mitchell and numerous other manufacturers allegedly contain a cancer-causing chemical, according to test results released by the Center for Environmental Health.

The Oakland, Calif.-based group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Walgreens, Lake Consumer Products, Vogue International and Ultimark Products for selling products that allegedly contain cocamide diethanolamine, or cocamide DEA, an ingredient used to make foam and bubbles, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

CEH said it also sent legal notices to more than 100 other companies, including Target, Sears and T.J. Maxx that produce and/or sell cocamide DEA-laced products for violating California law. Cocamide DEA, a chemically-modified form of coconut oil, was added last year as a known carcinogen to the state’s Proposition 65 list.

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed reforms to California’s Proposition 65 chemical disclosure law, saying it has been “abused by unscrupulous lawyers.” The package of reforms will build on ongoing legislative efforts in the state, Brown says, and includes proposals to cap attorneys’ fees in Prop. 65 cases, change the situations in which warnings are needed, and require plaintiffs to better demonstrate the support for their claims. The CEH has warned if penalties are lowered too much, companies would lose their incentive to remove chemicals from products.

CEH testing also allegedly 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 also contained cocamide DEA, CEH says.

The nonprofit says 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 from this company requiring it to end its use of phony organic labels.

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