Is there an ingredient called cocamide diethanolamine in shampoo that causes cancer? 


We can verify the ingredient is not illegal. We can also verify that it has been known to cause cancer in animals, but no cases in humans. 


DC Dermatologist Dr. Noëlle S. Sherber


Federal Drug Administration

Maple Holistics



A non-profit group called the Center for Environmental Health is fighting to get shampoos with cocamide diethanolamine, also called DEA, off of store shelves. 

This ingredient is included in California's Prop 65 List. That's a list of chemicals on a state registry that are known to be harmful, but not outright banned.

The FDA feels differently about this chemical. Dr. Sherber says their official position is that it is safe for human use.

So do you need to look at your shampoo labels and then potentially throw it all away? 

California says yes. The FDA says no.

Is it safe? Should you stop using it?

Again, Dr. Sherber says switch shampoos if your concerned, otherwise, just limit the amount of time it stays on your skin.


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