News & Updates

Amphoteric Alternatives for Cocamide DEA (Updated)

Cocamide DEA is used by product formulators as a surfactant in several hard surface cleaning applications, including liquid dish detergents, all-purpose cleaners, degreasers, and manual and automatic vehicle care detergents.

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Stepan Company, a global supplier of surfactant technologies, produces commonly used Cocamide DEA based surfactants under the trade names NINOL® 40-CO (1:1 Cocamide DEA) and NINOL® 11-CM (Modified 2:1 Cocamide DEA, 15% added Coco Fatty Acid).

Despite its broad use and acceptance in hard surface cleaning applications, Cocamide DEA has recently come under scrutiny by the US EPA and NTP and, as of June 22, 2012, has been listed by California’s Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as a known carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65.

The Proposition 65 listing poses unique challenges for formulators who either manufacture products with Cocamide DEA or otherwise offer the product for commercial sale in the State of California.

Specifically, formulators must meet all Proposition 65 warning requirements or reformulate by June 22, 2013.

Stepan has broad amphoteric product support and technical expertise in hard surface care to assist customers with product recommendations and re-formulation.

In order to provide formulators and manufacturers with performance based alternatives to Cocamide DEA, Stepan investigated a series of their specialty amphoterics to facilitate reformulation and replace Cocamide DEA in major application areas.

Based on Stepan’s studies, which reviewed performance testing along with the handling, lead-time and market price characteristics of alternative materials, we are working with customers to recommend substitutes and deliver suitable product alternatives from Stepan.

Continue reading to learn about available Cocamide DEA alternatives or receive the full PDF and detailed product comparison sheet via email by clicking here.

Why are companies seeking alternatives?

As of June 22, 2012, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has listed Cocamide DEA (CAS No. 68603-42-9) on Proposition 65 due to findings by the U.S. EPA and the NTP that the material is known to cause cancer.

How does the Proposition 65 listing impact formulators using Cocamide DEA?

If you are manufacturing products containing Cocamide DEA or offering it for commercial sale in California, you must provide a “clear and responsible” warning before knowingly or intentionally exposing anyone to a Proposition 65 listed chemical.

Companies have twelve (12) months from the listing date, or June 22, 2013, to comply with the warning requirements.

What product alternatives are available for reformulating?

We are proud to partner with Stepan in offering a broad line of amphoteric products derived from both natural and synthetic sources. Based on recent studies in specific application areas, we are offering the following Cocamide DEA alternatives from Stepan:

Liquid Dish Detergents

For formulations containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfonate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), the following surfactants showed equivalent or improved foam mileage and foam volume compared to NINOL® 40-CO on an equal actives basis:

AMMONYX® LO (Lauramide Oxide)

AMPHOSOL® CG-50 (Cocamidopropyl Betaine)

AMMONYX® CDO SPECIAL (Cocamidopropylamine Oxide)


Neutral All-Purpose Cleaners

For concentrated all-purpose cleaner formulas, the following surfactants showed equivalent to or improved cleaning in the first few studies compared to NINOL® II-CM on an equal actives basis:

AMPHOSOL® CS-50 (Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine)

AMPHOSOL® CG-50 (Cocamidopropyl Betaine)



Note: The cleaner formulas were evaluated by the Gardner Straight Line Washability Test on vinyl tiles with ASTM D4488-95-a5 soil.

Spray and Wipe Degreasers

For a ready-to-use degreaser formula tested with the Spray Test on enamel tiles using aged kitchen grease, AMMONYX® LO removed more grease than NINOL® II-CM.

The other surfactants listed below showed equivalent grease removal compared to NINOL® II-CM on an equal actives basis:

AMMONYX® LO (Lauramide Oxide)

AMPHOSOL® 810-B (Capryl/Capramidopropyl Betaine)

AMMONYX® CDO SPECIAL (Cocamidopropylamine Oxide)


Vehicle Care Detergents

For manual (hand) and automatic car wash detergent formulas, the following surfactants had equivalent shake foam compared to NINOL® 40-CO on an equal actives basis:

AMMONYX® LMDO (Lauramidopropylamine Oxide)

AMPHOSOL® CG-50 (Cocamidopropyl Betaine)


For more information, samples, or pricing on any of the above-listed products from Stepan, please feel free to contact J R Hess & Company, Inc. at 800-828-4377 or fill out our online contact form and select “Cocamide DEA Alternatives” as your request