(KPIX 5) – Nearly 100 shampoos and liquid soaps sold in California contain a chemical that should be flagged as carcinogenic under state law, but isn’t, according to a Bay Area-based environmental watchdog group.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) says the products, which include Prell shampoo and Trader Joe’s Lemon Kitchen Hand Soap, contain cocoamide diethanolamine, or cocamide DEA, which was added to California’s list of known carcinogens last year. The ingredient is made from coconut oil and is used as a foaming agent or thickener.

“Any product that exposes consumers to this chemical needs to carry a warning label,” said Charles Margulis of the CEH. The organization Tuesday filed a lawsuit against four companies that manufacture products containing cocamide DEA that contends the companies are violating state law. In addition, the CEH also sent warning letters to more than 100 other companies that produce or sell products containing cocamide DEA.

A representative from the Personal Care Products Council, a trade association for the personal care product industry, would not comment on the CEH’s claims or the lawsuit.



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