Tuesday, February 13, 2007

'Probable Carcinogen' Shows up In Shampoos

Back in the eighties, the FDA noticed a "probable human carcinogen" called 1,4-dioxane in "some shampoos and other bath products," reports the LA Times. While they recommended that manufacturers cut the level of this stuff to below 10 parts per million, a recent study shows some producers are ignoring the agency's urging.

But why should they cut back? The FDA's action was limited to a recommendation, or a voluntary limit. Perhaps the FDA expected the market would select out the most (potentially) harmful products. Well, tell that to Clairol, who's "Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers" shampoo has 23 ppm of 1,4-dioxane or Olay, who's "Complete Body Wash With Vitamins" carry's the same amount.

How much of a problem is this, really? Well, we're talking about a "probable" carcinogen here, so it's tough to say. But I wonder, with cancer rates what they are (some 500,000 people die from cancer each year), I wonder how many of these "probable" carcinogens need to add up before a problem develops.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.