Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Kulmalukko, Brentron2000

The Hong Kong Consumer Council has revealed that 38 of 60 shampoo samples it tested were found to contain contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane, for which seven of them exceeded European Union limits.

According to a press release, the presence of 1,4-dioxane, a solvent classified as an ether, was detected in 38 shampoo samples with the amount ranging from 1.1 to 24 parts per million, which all fell within mainland China’s limit of 30ppm.

However, seven of them had a 1,4-dioxane content between 12ppm and 24ppm, exceeding the EU safety standard (10ppm) for cosmetics.

The shampoo brands in question included Vidal Sassoon, Pantene, Clairol, Head and Shoulders, and Elence.

In normal usage, these products are not deemed to pose safety risks to users, said the council, but it added that those with sensitive skin should take extra caution.

Some of the brands’ makers said 1,4-dioxane was inevitably produced in trace amounts during manufacturing but the products were safe, Ta Kung Pao reported.

The council also found that 20% of the shampoo samples contained preservatives that could be allergenic.

Meanwhile, 22 samples priced under HK$100 (US$12.80) were listed as top performers with the highest overall rating of 5 points. However, the most expensive product tested, René Furterer Naturia, which cost HK$390, scored only 2.5 points.

The council advised consumers to study ingredient labeling with care before purchase.