Almost Half of Personal Care Products Contain This Carcinogen

The chemical 1,4-dioxane is a harmful carcinogenóand guess what: it is in 46 percent of personal care products on the US market.

Iíll give you a second to rummage through your medicine cabinet right now, frantically scanning ingredients lists on your shampoos, bubble baths, lotions and body washes.

Ah, you donít see 1,4-dioxane on any ingredients lists, do you? Hold off on that sigh of relief. The chemical 1,4-dioxane is likely not going to appear on any product label.

That is because 1,4-dioxane is actually a byproduct that is created through the combination of other chemicals. It doesnít technically have to be included on the ingredients list because it isnít directly added into personal care products. It lurks, unlisted.

If the US government doesnít think it needs to be on the label, how harmful could it be? Well, for starters, 1,4-dioxane is banned in Canada. Plus, the Environmental Working Group gives it a score of 8 out of 10, meaning it is a high hazard. And itís pretty tough to get rid of once it enters our environment. It does not stick to soil particles, which means it seeps easily into our groundwater. Once in water, 1,4-dioxane remains intact and does not break down.

As of 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that 1,4-dioxane is possibly carcinogenic to humans; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considered 1,4-dioxane as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen; and the EPA established that 1,4-dioxane is likely to be carcinogenic to humans. Five years later, here we are, still finding it in our personal care products.

According to Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president of government affairs, ďThis contaminant is linked to cancer and serves absolutely no purpose in cosmetics.Ē Itís nasty.

But change is on the horizon. New York state senators Schumer and Gillibrand are petitioning the FDA for the removal of 1,4-dioxane from all US personal care products. An unsettling quantity of this likely carcinogen was found in Long Islandís water supply, which is what prompted the senatorsí actions. And it is not an unreasonable request for companies. The chemical serves absolutely no purpose in personal care products and its removal is a relatively simple and inexpensive process known as ďvacuum strippingĒ. There is really nothing keeping 1,4-dioxane in our lives except for congressional action, which is where you come in.

If you care about what lurks unseen in your personal care products, sign this Care2 petition in support of Senator Schumer’s ban. You can also call your reps in Congress to let your voice be heard and show that people care about this issue. Use this online tool to get contact information for your local representatives and have your concerns heard.

In the meantime, you have a good chance of avoiding 1,4-dioxane in your products if you avoid PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, and polyoxyethylene on the ingredients list, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Related:
Without Bees, You Can Say Goodbye to These Breakfast Foods
6 Reasons You’re So Tired All the Time
Should You Have to Choose Between Good Coffee & Sustainability? Absolutely Not.

45 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Telica R
Telica R2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Melania P
Melania P3 months ago

Thank you; I guess, more than ever, we need to read and pay attention labels.

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks for sharing.

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks for sharing.

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks for sharing.

SEND
Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 months ago

How can they be allowed to do this? Why do "we, the people" keep buying these products?

SEND