New York Must Ban Products with the Toxic Contaminant 1,4-Dioxane!


1,4-Dioxane is a hidden carcinogen lurking in everyday products. 1,4-Dioxane was found in 65 out of 80 products (including shampoos, body washes, baby products, laundry detergents, hand and dish soaps) that CCE had independently tested earlier this year. Products tested had 1,4-dioxane levels as high as 17,000 ppb. 

1,4-Dioxane is not added to products as an ingredient and it does not enhance the effectiveness of a product, but rather it occurs as an unwanted byproduct. It results from a process called ethoxylation, which is used to reduce the risk of skin irritation caused by petroleum based ingredients. Manufacturers can remove 1,4-dioxane from products cheaply and easily. The FDA recommends manufacturers remove the chemical, but unfortunately many do not take this critical step.

Exposure to 1,4-dioxane occurs through inhalation, swallowing contaminated water, or through skin absorption. The EPA has established that 1,4-dioxane is likely to be carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to this chemical is linked to tumors of the liver, gallbladder, nasal cavity, lung, skin, and breast.

Sewage and septic systems are not designed to filter out this contaminant, making our aquifer system very susceptible to contamination. Once in our groundwater, 1,4-dioxane’s high solubility makes it a persistent, long-term threat to our water resources. Of the 4,400 water supply systems tested nationwide by the EPA, Long Island has the highest levels of 1,4-dioxane detection, with some water systems in both Nassau and Suffolk containing levels over 100 times the EPA’s cancer risk guideline of 0.35 ppb. Pilot programs using advanced oxidation technology have showed success in removing the chemical from drinking water, but these are not required and expensive to install.

Email legislative leaders and urge them to support legislation to ban the sale of cosmetics and cleaning products that contain 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane is a threat to public health and the environment, and should not be the products that we use every day!