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Up With Tar-Based Shampoos?
Hello again Ed.
Can you help clear up the contradictions concerning tar based
shampoos? I'm aware of the dangerous chemicals found in Neutrogena
shampoo but what about all the others: Polytar,
Sebcur T, etc. Personally, I've been using Tersa-tar
shampoo, I use it every day and the results are fantastic, BUT it does
contain a 3% coal tar distillate? Thanks –James D.
Response: This one makes me
mad. Not you, James. The
legislation/litigation in California that’s making negative waves
First, to your
concern. No, I can’t clear
anything up. If the entire
state of California has gone off the deep end over this, the best I can do
is be pissed off. Clarifying
the issue will take bigger guns than I can muster.
of any evidence stating that any normal
use of coal tar-derivative shampoo or other hair-care products causes
cancer (the California concern) or any other bad thing.
I italicize “normal use” because some flakers occlude with the
shampoo over night or wear it in their hair for hours on end.
This is extreme use and I’m not sure anybody knows or has
attempted to learn what the long-term consequences of this extreme use
might be. (Personally, I
don’t do it.)
National Psoriasis Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration
aren’t aware of any evidence, either, because, according to a page 1
article in the January/February 2002 NPF
Bulletin, both of these organizations wrote letters expounding this
opinion to litigants in California. (Note:
As of March 4, the January/February 2002 issue of the NPF
Bulletin was not yet available on line at www.psoriasis.org.)
A law known as
Proposition 65 in California requires OTC products containing certain
chemicals to print on their packaging, “Warning:
This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to
cause cancer.” Evidently the
coal-tar derivative used in anti-flaking shampoo qualifies.
You’ll note the crafty wording that avoids higher court appeals.
Known to the state of
California. Good grief.
When we anthropomorphize a piece of geography and need someone to
point a finger at, it’s traditional to aim for the highest political
office attached to that piece of geography.
In this case, that means we might as well stick our tongues out at
the Governor of California. He,
of course, will wag a finger at “the voters.”
the NPF article, it sounds as though the lion’s share of coal-tar
shampoo manufacturers will comply with the label warning requirement.
Denorex — a very popular shampoo among flakers, unfortunately —
has decided to replace the coal-tar extract with salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid is a keratolytic, a
chemical that helps free scale. The
coal-tar derivative helpful for skin lesions, on the other hand, can
actually subdue the generation of scale.
This makes the salicylic acid compromise, really
Dermik, makers of Zetar, has, according to the NPF article, decided to
discontinue sale of this product in California.
heard the end of the battle in California.
The National Psoriasis Foundation has promised to keep us updated.
In the meantime, I know lots of FlakeHQers live in California and I
loved to get some email from them on this issue.