The Center for Environmental Health reports it to be the first-ever legal agreement with major cosmetic players to remove cocamide diethanolamine, a “cancer-causing chemical” that puts the suds in shampoos and emulsifies lotions.
CEH filed lawsuits last summer seeking to force 140 companies to either stop making or stop selling products containing cocamide DEA. According to spokesman Charles Margulis, the Center has reached agreements with 26 brands so far.
The most recent set of settlements with 14 of the companies were finalized in Alameda Superior Court on May 2nd with the court expected to finalize the remaining 12 pending agreements in June.
The NGO is still pursuing its lawsuits against the remaining companies it sued over cocamide DEA.
Potentially a 'cancer causing chemical'
According to the International Agency on Research into Cancer (IARC), the chemical has been found to cause cancer in tested animals and may cause the same in humans.
Based on the IARC's assessment, California listed cocamide DEA in June 2012 as a chemical known to cause cancer.
Current federal law regulating cosmetics, the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 was adopted more than 75 years ago, but has only been updated once.
The Food and Drug Administration has very limited authority under the law and cannot require cosmetics companies to conduct pre-market safety assessments, nor can it require product recalls.
CEH and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are continuing to urge Congress to pass updated rules, under the proposed Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013, which would create a health-based safety standard to phase out potentially harmful ingredients, to provide full ingredient disclosure, and other essential reforms.