Cocamide DEA found in some shampoo bottles

Published On: Nov 14 2013 05:55:36 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 13 2013 10:10:00 PM EST

You may have seen the report making headlines in news papers, magazines and on-line on websites. Mommy bloggers are also writing about the dangers of Cocamide DEA.

So what is Cocamide DEA? It comes from coconut oil and is a foaming agent used to make bubbles and also acts as a thickener.

But it is also a carcinogen -- a cancer causing chemical.

Caroline Cox, Research Director at Centers for Environmental Health says every time you squeeze the shampoo bottle, you could be putting your family at risk.

"At least one percent of what's in your hand is Cocamide DEA, and that going in your hair and absorbed in your skin," said Cox.

"It's pretty easy to protect yourself," Cox said. "The ingredients are listed on the label on the back of the shampoo. Just look through the ingredient list and if you see Cocamide DEA, just go buy a different shampoo."

But how worried should we really be? Dr. Joseph Thundiyil of MD Anderson in Orlando says Cocamide DEA is only rated as a "possible carcinogen" under the International Agency on Research for Cancer.

"We have a lot of other things to worry about that are known and probable carcinogens, and I would focus your energy on those because we know those cause cancer and have link to cancer," said Thundiyil.

While Cocamide DEA has been found to cause cancer in animals, the question remains if it will surface in humans. Thundiyil says you can always use the precautionary principal.

"Sometimes if we are not sure, it's nice to have that information on the bottle so each consumer can decide for themselves," Thundiyil explains.

Activist and mommy blogger Shane Shirley-Smith adheres to this rule.

"If there is information that I found that I researched that looks solid to me, then I'm definitely going to take the precaution and eliminate it from my family," said Shirley-Smith.

This research by the Centers for Environmental Health is enough to cause Shirley-Smith and others concern.

Don't expect to see warning labels on these bottles of shampoo, as that law is only in California.

According to Dr. Thundiyil if you are concerned, the International Agency on Research for Cancer has a complete list of known and probable carcinogens.

Click here for a list of all the Shampoos containing Cocamide DEA and where they are found.

Click here to find out what are known cancer causing carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.


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