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Cocamide DEA

Today's Chemical:

Cocamide DEA

EWG Risk Score:


What is it?

Cocamide DEA is a foaming/detergent agent. 

Why is it a risk? 

  • Nitrosamine and 1,4-dioxane contamination 
    Cocamide DEA is created by reacting coconut fatty acids with a chemical called diethanolamine. Diethanolamine is created is made by reacting ethylene oxide and ammonia. Ethylene oxide is a known carcinogen and traces of it, along with its carcinogenic by-product 1,4-dioxane can remain in the product. Because it is an amide, it also has the potential for being contaminated with or forming a class of carcinogenic chemicals called nitrosamines. 
  • Diethanolamide contaminaion
    Can contain free diethanolamide either from original processing or as a by-product that releases over time. DEA is a suspected blood toxin, liver toxin, kidney toxin, and neurotoxin. (Source) (Source)
  • Can be a contact allergen
    Uncommon, but it can be a contact allergen in some individuals. (Source
  • Skin issues
    Animal studies showed "incidences of epidermal and sebaceous gland hyperplasia, hyperkeratosis, chronic inflammation, and parakeratosis at the site of application." (Source)


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Reader Comments (5)

The hair conditioner I'm using is Tate's Natural Miracle Conditioner (I just realized how phony the name sounds) which contains Cocamide DEA. When I emailed the company, it told me that the ingredient is removed 2 years ago but the company is still using their old labels. Is this even legal?
Either way, I'm going to throw the conditioner out. I might as well just buy everything from you =D
Thanks for the info Stephanie!

Wed, December 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I love the spirit of your blog and company!

I wish I could trust all cosmetic companies as much as I do yours because you seemingly disclose all ingredients in your products, even thought it is not required (?) My toothpaste's makeup, for example, used to be a mystery beyond the active ingredient. We live in a chemically ignorant society for the most part, and I hope companies like B&B can change that.

I do wish I had more assurance that your products (the water-based ones) wouldn't spoil and grow some nasty stuff though. If there are no preservatives, how can you be sure it won't spoil?

The only way I could trust your company more would be if I was able to watch the products being made, and if I knew that your products would not spoil and grow some nasty microorganisms that might be worse than the chemicals in more widely used cosmetics.

Thu, January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Your claims on flax seeds are pretty "out there"... The omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds are not as readily absorbed as the FA in fish oil, for starters. So, why aren't you selling fish oil?

Thu, January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Thanks Jessica! I'm not sure of the legality of the label--but I think you made the right choice. :)

Adam--thanks for your comments! I wanted to add a few things...None of our products are water-based so they don't grow pathogens.

As far as the flax seeds are concerned, I know that the claims may seem far-fetched, but everything that I've written is backed up with medical studies. Perhaps I need to review my article and make sure that all my sources are cited. And it's not necessarily the omega-3s that are the most beneficial components, but the lignans in the actual seed. We don't sell fish oil because there are plenty of other sources out there, and I've personally felt the benefits of these flax seeds in my life and am very passionate about spreading the word about their goodness.

Thu, January 28, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

this ingredient seems to be to dangerous substance

Tue, April 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergatsre

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