You can try to cross the street to avoid cigarette smoke, or exclusively eat organic foods. However, a new report reveals it may be your bubble bath or shampoo that could end up giving you cancer.
Officials from Oakland’s watchdog group Center for Environmental Health (CEH) have launched a lawsuit against Walgreens and three other companies after tests found 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products contained high levels of a cancer-causing ingredient.
The chemical, known as called cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA) was banned in California last year.
However, the nonprofit group found cocamide DEA still used in shampoos from brands like Colgate Palmolive and Paul Mitchell,and in store brands from Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Kohl’s.
According to Michael Green, Executive Director of the CEH, consumers have been taken for a ride:
“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.”
Additionally, the nonprofit sent legal notices to more than 100 other companies that produce and/or sell tainted products, and one manufacturer — Africa’s Best — that falsely labeled its products organic.
Even one Kmart-brand children’s bubble bath and a Babies R Us kids’ shampoo-conditioner were found to be offenders.
Cocamide DEA, a chemically modified coconut oil used in beauty products as a thickener or foaming agent, has been listed as a carcinogen in California since June 2012.
In accordance to state law, manufacturers must place “clean and reasonable warnings” on products that contain harmful amounts of toxins.
For each violation, CEH is asking the court to fine the companies $2,500 a day and require that every product be clearly labeled with warnings.
Green is hoping the violators take the lawsuit seriously:
“We expect companies to take swift action to end this unnecessary risk to our children’s and families’ health.”
Click here for the complete list of tainted personal care products.