1,4-Dioxane is a hidden carcinogen lurking in everyday products. It can be found in more than 46% of personal care products, including baby products, shampoos, body wash, and lotions. It is also found in many laundry detergents.
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.
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!
Citizens Campaign for the Environment hired a New York State certified laboratory to conduct independent testing on 30 commonly used consumer products. Our test results found that of the 30 products tested, 23 contained 1,4-dioxane, including 4 that had levels of 1,4-dioxane over the FDA recommendation of 10,000 ppb considered safe for skin exposure. All of these common products are contributing to 1,4-dioxane being washed down the drain into our sole-source aquifers and our coastal environments.
THE TOP 5 PRODUCTS WITH THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF 1,4-DIOXANE ARE:
Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Shower Gel – 17,000 ppb
Victoria’s Secret Love – 16,000 ppb
Tide Original Laundry Detergent – 14,000 ppb
2x Ultra Ivory Snow Gentle Care – 11,000 ppb
Tide Simply plus Oxi (Refreshing Breeze) Laundry Detergent – 8,500 ppb
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.