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article imageSome 'Organic' Personal Care Products Actually Contain Carcinogen

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By David Silverberg     Mar 17, 2008 in Health
Products labelled “natural” or “organic” should give consumers some peace of mind. But a new study revealed that nearly half of the 100 tested green products contained a carcinogenic chemical. Your shampoos and soaps may not be as safe as you think.
Digital Journal — The Organic Consumers Association, a consumer advocacy group, found the chemical 1,4-Dioxane in many leading organic products. 1,4-Dioxane is known as a chemical that causes cancer, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and it’s also been suspected as a kidney and respiratory toxicant.
Some of the contaminated products came from brand names such as Nature’s Gate Organics, Giovanni Organic Cosmetics and Kiss My Face. In a comprehensive document, the OCA outlined which products contained the highest amounts of the carcinogen: Citrus Magic 100 per cent Natural Dish Liquid held the unenviable top position with 97.1 parts per million, while NutriBiotic Super Shower Gel Shampoo and Alba Passion Fruit Body Wash also ranked high in 1,4-Dioxane contamination.
Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of the OCA, said in a statement: "The practice of ethoxylating ingredients or using other petroleum compounds must end for natural personal care, and is that much more outrageous in so-called 'organics' brand products."
The OCA attacked products labelled “organic” which don’t have certification from the USDA National Organic Program. Cummins noted, "When it comes to misbranding organic personal care products in the US, it’s almost complete anarchy and buyer beware unless the product is certified under the USDA National Organic Program.”
In order for consumers to be aware of what is in their supposedly organic products, the OCA recommended avoiding goods with unpronounceable ingredients. Consumers should also be wary of ingredients such as “myreth,” “oleth,” “laureth,” “ceteareth,” or other words ending in “eth” (which implies the ethoxylation process that generates 1,4-Dioxane). Also, the OCA suggested concerned consumers only purchase products emblazoned with the USDA label.
The tests were commissioned by the OCA and overseen by environmental health advocate David Steinman. A third-party laboratory performed all the testing.
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