University of North Carolina researchers have found that Diethanolamine (DEA), an ingredient found in many shampoos and other personal care products, seems to interfere with normal brain development in baby mice. The ingredient was applied to the skin of pregnant mice and seemed to have an adverse effect on their offspring.
Dr. Steven Zeisel, Kenan Distinguished University Professor of nutrition in UNC's schools of public health and medicine and associate dean for research in the School of Public Health said that the finding needs to be probed further. Previous research has looked at DEA in terms of it being a carcinogen.
"I don't believe any woman who's been using these products needs to have a sleepless night about having caused harm to her child," Zeisel said. "At this point it is a caution. But it would probably be prudent to look at labels and try to limit exposure until we know more."