Unlike many shampoos and conditioners, the Herbal Essences brand doesn’t contain parabens–a class of chemicals thought to cause breast cancer and estrogenic activity. But apparently the popular brand contains high levels of another carcinogenic chemical: 1,4-dioxane. Herbal Essences contains so much dioxane, in fact, that it should carry a warning label required for cancer-causing chemicals under California’s Proposition 65. Proctor & Gamble is well-aware of its transgressions and is currently changing the hair product line’s formula so that it contains less dioxane.
Even though P&G is fixing Herbal Essences, dioxane remains a problem in many brands. The worst offenders, according to the 1,4 Dioxane Product Safety Watch, include Dial, Palmolive, Head and Shoulders, and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap, which contains 10 times more dioxane than any other brand.
Want to steer clear of the chemical? The Safety Watch has a handy shopping guide for dioxane-free products.