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California's attorney general Jerry Brown has filed suit against four companies, including Whole Foods Market, accusing them of failing to label soap products that contain a potentially cancer-causing chemical.
Besides Whole Foods, the suit names Avalon Natural Products, Beaumont Products Inc., and NutriBiotic. Filed in Alameda County Superior Court late last month, the legal action did not indentify the specific body washes, gels, and liquid dish soaps that allegedly contain 1,4-dioxane. Under a state proposition, companies must label products that contain chemicals known to the state to cause cancer.
California's deputy attorney general, Susan Fiering, said the state was in discussions with all four companies and hoped they would reformulate the products, according to press reports.
The attorney general's office also warned 18 companies that some of their products contained the chemical, reports said.
Libba Letton, a spokeswoman for Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, said the company believed its products were safe.
"We have conducted our own investigation into the allegations that some of our products contain 1,4-dioxane and do not believe these products represent a health risk or are in excess of California's Proposition 65 safe harbor level for 1,4-dioxane," Letton said. "We're cooperating with the attorney general's office to resolve the claims as quickly as possible."
Each violation carries civil penalties of as much as $2,500 a day, reports said.