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Cocamide DEA to be removed from some cosmetic products

Cocamide DEA

(NaturalNews) Unknowingly lathering up in cancer-causing chemicals, consumers often have no clue that their cosmetic products are full of cellular disrupters. With no warning labels for potentially harmful ingredients, cosmetic products are consumed en masse, as consumers openly trust the companies manufacturing them. Sadly, many chemical ingredients are passed as safe, while people routinely allow them to be absorbed into the body, disrupting cellular processes.

According to the Environmental Working Group, cocamide DEA is one such chemical, with moderate concern for immunotoxicity, allergenic response and carcinogenic activity. Going by new research from the International Agency on Research into Cancer, test animals exposed to cocamide DEA show signs of new cancer growth, which could also equate to toxicity in humans.

Made synthetically from coconut oil, cocamide DEA acts as a foaming agent for hand washes and anti-dandruff shampoos. It's what makes commercial soap sudsy. It's also the emulsifier in several lotion brands. On product labels, it can be recognized as any combination of names including hydroxyethyl, coconut diethanolamide or coco amide.

According to new restrictions under California law, proposition 65, the questionable cocamide DEA is now considered a harmful chemical. Companies looking to keep the chemical in their product will now be required to warn consumers on product labels "clearly and reasonably" that it may contain harmful ingredients.

Carcinogen found at alarming levels beyond normal, 10,000 parts per million

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has compiled a list of companies phasing out cocamide DEA from their beauty products. They also provide a list of other companies and products that are committed to continue using the toxic ingredient. The CEH filed lawsuits against 140 companies in 2013 based on proposition 65; they ultimately reached a deal with 26 of them.

"The state has not set a [safety] level specific to cocamide DEA," said Charles Margulis, Communications Director and Food Program Director of CEH, "but the levels we found exceed levels typical for carcinogens."

The CEH found cocamide DEA in excess of 10,000 parts per million in most products tested, a number significantly high for known carcinogens.

Walgreens to discontinue sales of products containing cocamide DEA

The largest manufacturer agreeing to make changes to product formulas is Colgate-Palmolive. Likewise, a major cosmetic distributor, Walgreens, is the first to discontinue selling products altogether containing cocamide DEA.

"Simply put, there is no reason why anyone should be lathering a cancer-causing chemical into their hair or their children's hair," CEH research director Caroline Cox said in a statement announcing the settlements.

Many products that harbor the carcinogen sound natural and healthy. For instance, the brand Fresh Handmade Cosmetic's Fair Trade Honey Shampoo contained the carcinogen. After being notified, the company is now agreeing to remove cocamide DEA from their product formula.

A brand that sounds organic, JCPenney's Design Essential's Organic Cleanse Deep Cleansing Shampoo with Oatmeal Protein, had used the carcinogen up until now. McBride Research Laboratory is changing the product formula for its Design Essentials line, which will likely include the JCPenney brand.

Other healthy-sounding brands are not agreeing to take out cocamide DEA at the moment. These even include a Trader Joe's brand, Next to Godliness Lemon Kitchen Hand Soap. There's also a Kohl's brand and even a Toys 'R' Us shampoo that hasn't removed the chemical. The list is extensive. To check and see if your products contain cocamide DEA, view the list here.

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