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Soap Companies Accused Of Mislabeling Carcinogens

California's attorney general claims several manufacturers failed to warn consumers of a potentially cancer-causing chemical in their soaps.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- California's attorney general has accused several manufacturers of failing to warn consumers of a potentially cancer-causing chemical in their soaps.

In a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Attorney General Jerry Brown claims that the companies' body washes, gels and liquid dish soaps contain 1,4-dioxane.

Under a state law passed by voters known as Proposition 65, businesses must label their products or otherwise warn consumers of such chemicals.

The companies named in the suit filed late last month are Whole Foods Market California Inc.; Avalon Natural Products; Beaumont Products Inc.; and Nutribiotic.

In a statement, Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton said the company investigated the allegations and does not believe ''these products represent a health risk or are in excess of California's Proposition 65 Safe Harbor level for 1,4-dioxane.''

A Beaumont spokesman said the company has reformulated its citrus dish soap to eliminate the chemical. The Kennesaw, Ga., company's Citrus Magic soap now on the market is not the same version originally tested and accused of violations in the suit, said Bill Stone, Beaumont's vice president of marketing.

Representatives from Petaluma-based Avalon and Lakeport-based Nutribiotic did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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