Promises of more volume, shine, and botanical extracts may lure you in as you browse the shampoo aisle, but you may want to turn your attention to the tiny ingredients lists on the bottles to make sure you’re not choosing a product that will have you showering yourself in a neuro-toxic and carcinogenic chemical every day.
According to a new report from the Center for Environmental Health, dozens of shampoos, soaps, and other personal care products (the nonprofit group tested) contained cocamide diethanolamine, otherwise known as cocamide DEA. The basis of the chemical—coconut oil—seems innocent enough. But scientists tinker with the ingredient, modifying it into an unnatural, toxic form, merely for the purpose foaming agent.
University of North Carolina researchers found that when Diethanolamine (DEA), a chemical used as a thickening agent in most shampoos, is applied to the skin of pregnant mice, it interferes with their offspring’s normal brain development.
The Common Natural Ingredient You Must Avoid
DEA blocks absorption of the nutrient choline, which is essential to brain development and peripheral nerve function. Choline deficiencies can lead to peripheral nerve damage, metabolic syndrome, NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), insulin resistance, and hypertension. All of these disorders can result in peripheral nerve damage and nerve pain, also known as peripheral neuropathy.
California listed cocamide DEA as a known carcinogen in 2012 under its Prop 65 law, which requires warning labels on consumer products containing carcinogens or reproductive toxicants. In fact, The Center for Environmental Health recently filed a California lawsuit against four companies (Walmart, Target, Trader Joe’s, Kohl’s) that sell shampoo and personal care products containing the toxic chemical without a warning label.
“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,” said Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health. “We expect companies to take swift action to end this unnecessary risk to our children’s and families’health.”
Some other things uncovered through the center’s independent testing:
- A store brand children’s bubble bath from Kmart and a children’sshampoo and conditioner from Babies ‘R’ Us also contained cocamide DEA.
- Falsely labeled organic products from Organic by Africa’s Best also tested for high levels of the cancer-causing chemical
- One shampoo tested contained a whopping 20% cocamide DEA.
It’s important to know that cocoamide DEA can masquerade under other names, so here’s what you should look out for on all of your personal care labels:
- Cocamide DEA
- Cocamide MEA
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine*
- DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
- DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
- Lauramide DEA
- Linoleamide MEA
- Myristamide DEA
- Oleamide DEA
- Stearamide MEA
- TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
Cocamidopropyl betaine, or CAPB, has been replacing cocamide DEA because it is thought to cause less skin irritations in people who are sensitive; however, it does not reduce the amount of neuro-toxicity or cancer risk.
SHAMPOOS with COCAMIDE DEA
- Bed Head (TIGI)
- CVS brand shampoos
- Garnier Fructis
- Head & Shoulders
- JASON shampoo
- John Frieda
- Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo
- Matrix Biolage
- Nick Chavez
- Selsun Blue Dandruff
- TIGI (all shampoos)
- Walgreens brand shampoos (adult & baby)
Additionally, the most common chemical compounds in shampoos are straight-chain alkyl benzene sulfonates. Benzene is a chemical that is responsible for neurological symptoms, headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion and worst of all – oftentimes linked to leukemia and many types of cancers.
Most conventional shampoos contain 1,4-dioxane, a highly toxic carcinogen. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, 1,4-dioxane is known to cause cancer and may cause kidney, respiratory, and neurological toxicity. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has also stated that 1,4-dioxane is a groundwater contaminant.
MAKE YOUR OWN ORGANIC SHAMPOO
With hundreds of available shampoos on the shelf to buy, why on earth would you consider making your own? I’m going to give you a few reasons which you won’t be able to refute.
First of all, the FDA does not regulate what companies put in personal care products.
The majority of large companies like Suave, Pantene and Aussie (to name just a few) use chemicals that have been linked to cancer, nerve damage, immunotoxicity, and allegies.
Secondly, It’s cheaper and doesn’t take any time to make. That’s correct, you can make your own shampoo in under 5 minutes (no exageration) and save a boat-load of money, too.
RECIPES: Here are some of my favorite recipes for homemade shampoo.
8 oz of Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap
13 drops Lavender essential oil (EO)
7 drops Peppermint (EO)
7 drops Rosemary (EO)
3 drops Tea Tree Oil
Rosemary Shampoo (stimulates hair growth)
6 oz Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap
15 drops Rosemary essential oil (eo)
10 drops Geranium (eo)
BPA free plastic or glass dispenser bottle
1/2 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap
15 drops of essential oil of your choice (see below)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup Dr. Bronners liquid castille soap
1/2 cup purified water
1/2 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
20 drops Rosemary (eo)
15 drops Tea Tree Oil
1 tablespoon ground fenugreek seeds
BPA free plastic or glass dispenser bottle
Your Own Formulation
6 oz Dr. Bronners Castille Soap (liquid)
Essential oils (EO) of your choice (30 drops, may use single essential oil or multiple oils totaling 30 drops)
Essential Oils for Normal Hair
Essential Oils for Dry Hair
Essential Oils for Oily Hair
Essential Oils for Scalp Flakiness
Tea Tree Oil (Melaleucca
For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
The information herein on "Ingredients in Shampoo Have Been Linked to Neuropathy" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. In addition, we provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.