The Proctor and Gamble Corporation faces probable Proposition 65 litigation in California following allegations that several of their products contain 1,4-dioxane, a substance purported by the State to cause cancer. Affected products include Clairol Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Shampoo, a brand of Tide laundry detergent, and Head and Shoulders Advanced Extra Volume Shampoo.
The company was served a 60-day notice, a legal document prompting review by the State Attorney General, alleging that the cited products illegally expose the public to 1,4-dioxane through skin contact.
The 60-day notice, dated December 1, 2009, was filed by an attorney working on the behalf of David Steinman, an environmentalist, through the California State Attorney General’s Office. Should the State AG decide to forego prosecution of Proctor and Gamble at the end of the 60 day period, Steinman may proceed with civil litigation as a plaintiff.
In California, Proposition 65 requires companies to provide warnings whenever the general public is exposed to a substance known by the State to cause cancer or reproductive harm either from a product or via the environment. Substances subject to this warning requirement are listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). According to the notice, 1,4-Dioxane has appeared on this list since January 1, 1988.
Steinman claims to hold evidence from testing performed by reputable laboratories proving that the cited shampoos and laundry detergents contain 1,4-dioxane. However, details of this evidence were not released in the 60-day notice.
In a related note, on the same day, Steinman filed a second 60-day notice against The Dial Corporation alleging that a brand of Purex liquid detergent also contains 1,4-dioxane.
Details on the status of these notices and eventual lawsuits are available on the website of the California State Attorney General.