EWG Risk Score:
1 (Should be higher)
What is it?
Also known as Oleic Diethanolamide, it's used as a foam booster and thickener in shampoos, bubble baths and shower gels.
What are its risks:
- Oleamide DEA, due to the way it's processed, can contain and release a group of carcinogenic chemicals called nitrosamines. "Alkanolamides are manufactured by condensation of diethanolamine and the methylester of long chain fatty acids. Several alkanolamides (especially secondary alkanolamides) are susceptible to nitrosamine formation which constitutes a potential health problem. " (Source)
- Skin irritation, can exacerbate dermatitis and other conditions. "Repeated exposure may cause skin cracking, flaking or drying following normal handling and use. In products intended for prolonged contact with the skin, the concentration of cocoamide DEA should not exceed 5%. Fatty acid diethanolamides (C8-C18) and monoethanolamides are classified by CESIO as irritating." (Source)
- Eye irritation. (Source)
Cocamide DEA and oleamide DEA are created using the same method and are practically the same chemical. Oleamide DEA is created simply using oleic acid, a fatty acid found in many oils like coconut, whereas cocamide DEA is made with whole coconut oil instead of just the oleic acid. That's the only difference. So, oleamide DEA is actually present in cocamide DEA. The EWG Hazard Score for cocamide DEA is a 6, whereas oleamide DEA only scores a 1. This is due to lack of data on oleamide DEA because it is used less frequently. However, it poses the exact same risks as cocamide DEA and should score as such.