Bad and Good news...
The Bad : Half the "green" care products tested by the Organic Consumers Association came up positive for a known carcinogen called 1,4 Dioxane, which caused cancer in laboratory rats and is declared hazardous to humans by the EPA. The tricky part has been that labeling laws for natural products really aren't that strict- neither for the claim to be "natural" and "green" or for the ingredients involved if they are present in low enough amounts. Sadly some of these companies being ratted out are huge well respected Green Companies that have literally spear headed the organic care products industry. Seventh Generation (GASP!), JASON (no!), Kiss My Face (OMG!), Nature's Gate (tears), Method (go figure) and Alba (suck!) are among some of the companies who had products containing the chemical, which those who conducted the testing said is "barbaric" to have done in this day and age. Now not every single product these companies make contains 1,4 dioxane but some of their products definitely do, so it may be safer to find those products who are truly certified organic.
The Good: You won't be lathering your head and dishes with 1,4 Dioxane anymore! And that is good news. I used Nature's Gate shampoo for nearly 10 years in a row so I know first hand how dedicated we are to our fav organic care product. It's best to be informed and glad the cat is out of the faux "green" bag. (Although I'm shedding major tears for Seventh Generation who may be sued by OCA and Dr Bronners.) There are still safe and certified organic care products out there, and you can search this data base http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/index.php?nothanks=1 to select the most safe care products. TerrEssentials, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Nourish, Aubrey Organics, Burt's Bees, Desert Essence, Dr. Hauschka, EO, Zia Fresh, and Avalon Organics were all given two thumbs up on safety, since they are certified organic by the USDA under the same regulations as food. The OCA also gives this 3 step advice for choosing products that are chemical free :
1) Opt for products with the organic seal, 2) Avoid products with these suffixes or words in their ingredient list: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth, any other eth, PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol, and 3) Avoid products with unpronounceable ingredients in general.
This advice is technically good, but probably you were already perusing the labels that way. If you are really hardcore (as I am) you can write out the list and bring it to your local Health Food Grocery to be certain which chemicals to avoid.
For more details (like what happened to the lab rats) on this study check out the LA Times Article here: