Anaheim, CA — Procter & Gamble is reformulating its Herbal Essences shampoos to reduce the amount of a carcinogenic chemical in them.
The company says that for over a year it has had an ongoing program in place to reduce the amount of 1,4-dioxane that is in the products.
Recent tests of the products found they contained such a high level of 1,4-dioxane that they should have carried warning labels as required under California's Proposition 65. The law requires companies to include warnings on products that contain certain levels of chemicals know to the state to cause cancer. The chemical 1,4-dioxane, commonly referred to as dioxane, is one of them.
The Green Patriot Working Group (GPWG) was planning to file a lawsuit against Procter & Gamble for violating Proposition 65 before it found out about the company's decision to alter the shampoo.
The GPWG has been checking dioxane levels in various products, with testing conducted by third-party laboratory Exova. Dioxane is not included on ingredient lists because it is created as a byproduct of ethoxylation, a manufacturing process.
The group has tested dioxane levels in more than 150 consumer products since 2007, and most recently tested 20 laundry detergents. Of all the detergents, the seven produced by Procter & Gamble, including Tide and Cheer, had the highest levels of dioxane overall.
"It's very good news that Procter and Gamble is reformulating Herbal Essences...but it is also clear the company has more work to do to clean up its products across the board," said Stacy Malkin, spokesperson for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC).
The reduction and replacement of toxics was one of the main trends from the 2010 State of Green Business report, and companies and retailers have taken up various initiatives like removing phosphates from detergents, testing replacement ingredients, and developing products in line with Cradle to Cradle standards.