Is it crazy to include CDEA in a new line

I am UK based and a proposed formula for a wash off product due to be launched in 2023 contains 3.2% CDEA. Aware of the status of this ingredient in California, and the numerous online chat and content amplifying the 'cancer causing' message. I am wondering if we are crazy to go ahead.  I notice many posts here from very experienced formulators still refer to it as an ongoing option. Happy to look at alternatives but we need a 90-100% drop in with the same benefits. (viscosity builder and secondary foamer).  Would be glad of views on risks of utilising and suggestions for alternatives. Many thanks.
SCS: 9%, CAPB 2%, CDEA 3.2%, PEG 7 GC 3%, Frag 0.8%, Aqua.  PH 6


  • What preservative are you using?

    You may replace it with more CAPB or APG c MEA
  • @geekchic Cocamide DEA is actually a hard material to replace. As long as you don't exceed the secondary amine content (5% max for the ingredient, 0.5% max for the finished product) and you don't use nitrosating agents in your formula (like Bronopol and Bronidox), you're good to go.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Cocamide DEA is great but the main players in industry moved away from DEA in formulas back in the late 1990s. It was largely replaced with Cocamidopropyl Betaine. So, you don’t need to use it and you would be opening your brand up to fearmongering marketing if it ever becomes successful.
  • ozgirlozgirl Member, PCF student
    Personally I would try changing to cocamide MEA (or using additional CAPB) as it is the Diethanolamine (DEA) content that is the issue with carcinogenicity.

    We swapped from Cocamide DEA to a liquid form of Cocamide MEA a few years ago without any real issues. We only had to do a few minor pH adjustments from memory.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited April 28
    depends on your target demographic
    at my last place we sold late-90s formula shampoos in 5-litre jerrycans to a company that supplied hotels, sports clubs, leisure centres etc.; these were thickened with CDEA and there were never any queries about it, never mind complaints

    as an aside, one interesting CDEA-containing formula I've come across was Dettol's cationic handwash supplied with their hands-free dispensers around 2011/2012, which relied on CDEA to thicken the product and enhance the foaming; alternative surfactants just didn't cut it, and the patent covering the formulation was definitely written with that knowledge in mind
    UK based cosmetic chemist with 13 years' experience at the bench. I've worked with pretty much everything apart from pressed powders, soap, solid lipstick and aerosols.
  • QuimicoQuimico Member
    This formula works well
    SLES70:               10%,
    CAPB                   4%,
    Coco glucoside   0.5%
    CDEA                    1%,
    PEG 7 GC    0.5%,
    Frag            0.15%,
  • geekchicgeekchic Member
    Thank you everyone and huge apologies for my absence (posted this just before disappearing  for a few days). To answer your questions:
    @Abdullah ; I am using Phenoxyethanol and Piroctone Olamine.
    @ketchito - thank you. When you say 'I am good to go' do you mean I should not worry about replacing it?
    @Perry - I agree. Also, Europe is revising its stance on a whole range of chemicals by the end of 2022 and I wonder if CDEA will feature this time around. I just find it strange that 7 years on its still only California that has identified this as something to advise consumers on. Do you know if other states consider this an issue?
    @ozgirl - Thank you! I looked at CMEA but could not find in a high active (>95%) which we need. Do you know if one is available?
    @Bill_Toge - demographic would very likely pick up any media coverage of less than clean ingredients. Does not mean we will pander to every scare but on the other hand- we don't want to go looking for a fight ;) . Very interesting re Dettol - will look it up.
    @Quimico - Many thanks

    I appreciate all of your help- back online now :)

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    No, I'm not aware of any other states looking at the issue. Since all the big corporations have moved away from DEAs, most politicians likely don't see much reason to pursue the subject further.
  • ozgirlozgirl Member, PCF student
    edited May 4
    @geekchic We use a liquid (paste) version (Hi Foam 750) from ChemRez (Phillipines). We prefer this as it does not need heating.

    I'm not sure where you are located but Colonial Chemical in the USA sells a flake version of Cocamide MEA which I think needs to be warmed to allow for fast dissolution. 

    Just to note that Cocamide DEA is usually sold as an ~80% active liquid with the a portion of the remaining liquid being free DEA (usually around 5 to 10% free DEA).

  • geekchicgeekchic Member
    Many thanks @Perry and @ozgirl. Very much appreciated. I will look into sourcing. 
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