Propellant in major dry shampoo brands contained benzene, a potent human carcinogen

Originally published at: Propellant in major dry shampoo brands contained benzene, a potent human carcinogen | Boing Boing


til: dry shampoo exists

As a student, the first time I worked with benzene in the lab, I was told to take great precautions. Only use it under the hood with plenty ppe. When I then saw the stuff sold at the local hardware store with only a small print warning that it is known to cause cancer in the state of California, I was shocked. It causes cancer everywhere else, too


Beauty and hygiene products in the US have a long history of toxic ingredients. Other countries and regions of the world have much stricter regulations. That’s why we see so many articles about carcinogens and mutagens in products people have been using on their skin and hair for years:


Those well meaning labels are a complete disservice. They are on EVERYTHING to the point that no one even pays attention.

So, what the heck were people using it for at the hardware store?


Benzene is a very strong solvent. It can dissolve grease, glue, paint and lots of gunk other things won’t.


CA Prop 65 warning labels are found on things sold outside CA? I’m flabbergasted. Most people visiting from outside of CA complain when they see signs like these:



Yeah, products that companies want to sell in all 50 states, but they don’t want to produce a separate package for that one state, have the CA warnings on the labels. It’s not really different than NAFTA products having tri-lingual labels. :woman_shrugging:


Yeah, we don’t have the diesel exhaust warning, but I have seen it on various other products. Some of them leave you scratching your head, like Christmas lights. I guess maybe there could be lead solder?


Interesting. Most of the labels I see in CA are added at the stores as an adhesive sticker, or they are posted on a sign on the shelves or at the entrance.

I just looked online to see if online retailers have the warning for Waterford crystal and although the Prop 65 warning is there, you have to actually click on the link to see it:

I remember when Prop 65 passed and I still appreciate the sign when I walk into businesses.

As for dry shampoo, that is concerning for me because it’s something I’ve used before Covid-19. The two brands that I have used are not listed, so that’s good.

Yep. “Profit before safety” should be in Latin on our US currency. /s


I made some small stained glass ornaments for neighbors several years back. I used foil rather than lead for those, but it’s fully covered with leaded solder. I sprayed clear lacquer over the ornaments to seal the lead for safety sake, but I felt I owed a full disclosure to my to neighbors. See? It’s so ingrained. :smiley:


I’ve mostly seen the warning on products you would use while fixing your own car. Not many products outside of that. Oddly specific, perhaps?

Oh, your next comment…silver/tin solder is pretty readily available at the big box hardware store, though more expensive, but I wouldn’t do copper foil without it and a fume hood.

OK, so now I sound like some kind of renaissance weirdo, but stained glass work is semi-instant gratification I only get from craft projects, and fixing cars I had to learn in my 20’s because I couldn’t afford mechanics for routine and (turns out) pretty easy repairs. And, fine, I’m probably weird. :unamused:


Narrator: “It’s the religion.”

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I certainly wouldn’t rule out leaded solder; RoHS or not it’s cheaper and nicer to work with, and some jurisdictions are more flexible than others; but when I see a cryptic Prop 65 on something with wiring involved I always get a little nervous about it being the insulation. PVC doesn’t directly contain any lead; but metal soaps are common mold release agents; and classic PVC stabilizers include both lead and cadmium based agents; with the substitution of calcium and barium/zinc being more of a compliance matter than necessarily and industry preference.

At least PCBs are mostly out of fashion as plasticizers these days.

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