New research reports that 65 of 80 household products tested contain the chemical 1,4-dioxane. The US Environmental Protection Agency designates 1,4-dioxane as a likely carcinogen. Trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane were found in products including shampoos, detergents, body washes, and even in baby products.
The chemical is produced as a byproduct during manufacturing. Because 1,4-dioxane is a byproduct, the FDA and EPA do not require manufacturers to list the chemical in ingredient lists.
This study is part of an alarming trend that questions the safety of products we use, and therefore expose our children to, everyday.
Who tested the products?
The study was commissioned by the Long Island based group, Citizens Campaign for the Environment. They have been pushing for a statewide ban of 1,4-dioxane in household products. An initial study of 1,4-dioxane in household products was conducted in 2018 by the group and found 23 of 30 products contained the chemical. The group secured additional funding from the Long Island Community Foundation to test 50 more products for the updated report. They tested products bought at local Long Island stores.
What do manufacturers say?
A spokesman for the American Cleaning Institute released a statement reiterating that 1,4-dioxane is not deliberately added to consumer products and that the amount found in these products are at levels considered to be safe.
Are the levels of the chemical 1,4-dioxane safe?
It is important to note that no federal or state standard exists for concentrations of 1,4-dioxane allowed in consumer products. Since the 1980s, the EPA has recommended that manufacturers use a technique called “vacuum stripping” to reduce 1,4-dioxane as a byproduct in cosmetics. According to the EPA, lifelong exposure to 0.35 parts per billion of 1,4-dioxane in drinking water represents a 1-in-a-million cancer risk.
Six of the products tested had levels at or above 10,000 parts per billion. The highest had levels of 17,000 parts per billion.
Which products had the highest levels?
In each category, this list identifies the three products with the highest levels (in parts per billion):
- Dreft (Stage 1/Newborn): 10,000
- Baby Magic Hair and Body Wash (Original Baby Scent): 7,600
- Sesame Street Baby Wash (Dollar Tree): 2,100
Body Washes and Gels
- Victoria’s Secret (Bombshell Fragrance Wash): 17,000
- Victoria’s Secret (Love Fragrance Wash): 16,000
- Olay Moisture Ribbons Plus Body Wash (Shea + Lavender Oil): 3,500
- The Home Store Lemon Scented (Dollar Tree): 7,700
- Up & Up Free and Clear (Target Brand): 6,400
- Dawn: 3,600
- Soft Soap Fresh Breeze: 1,900
- Dial Coconut Water and Mango: 990
- RJ Walkins (Aloe and Green Tea): 340
- Tide Original: 14,000
- 2X Ultra Ivory Snow (Gentle Care): 11,000
- Gain Original: 10,000
Men’s Personal Care Products
- Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo: 3,100
- Irish Springs Shower Gel: 3,000
- Old Spice Swagger Shower Gel/Shampoo: 2,500
- Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion: 5,500
- Herbal Essences Platinum: 4,200
- VO5 Passion Fruit Smoothie: 3,400