I have many reasons to trust and love Seventh Generation products. They are a Vermont company. They are active in environmental health and sustainability issues. They are committed to reducing the many environmental problems of harsh chemicals in our waterways with their thoughtful line of products. Did I mention they are a Vermont company?
So I was very surprised to learn that they had undisclosed amounts of a carcinogenic contaminant (say that 5 times fast) called 1,4 Dioxane in their dish soap. Dish soap I use everyday.
Now, I do have faith in this company, and I knew they would have a thoughtful response to this on their website somewhere. It just seemed fitting that they would discuss this issue openly with their customers. And they did. You’ll see in this link a statement from the company about the situation. No, it doesn’t make it okay that this ingredient was in their product, and that it took a third party test to discover it. But on the Seventh Generation blog you will read the science behind using a process to make plant oils into something that can scrub oil off your dishes, why using this process is better than using petroleum based ingredients, and what the rest of the industry is doing.
You can bet they will be (and have been) working tirelessly on ways to make sure 1,4 Dioxane is not in their dish soap or other products.
There was also a lively discussion in the comments about what other undisclosed ingredients are in cleaning products. Check this out:
“Finally, this issue needs to be put in perspective. What conventional cleaning product divulges what surfactants they use for cleaning? Perhaps NPEs? Or which solvent they use for their synthetic fragrances? Perhaps phthalates? Or which solvents they use to cut grease? Perhaps butoxyethanol?
When you look at the back of a Seventh Generation label you see each ingredient we use, expressed in consumer-friendly terms. And if you go to our website, you see them listed using their chemical name and CAS number. This is disclosure beyond that of any other company in the household products industry.
This is not a perfect world. If it were, there would be no need for change, no need for evolution. Seventh Generation products, and our communications, change over time because we are not perfect. We are evolving. And we will provide products that are as safe for you, your family, and the environment, and that are as effective as we can make them.”
Stay tuned. And for the record, buying green products is still the most environmentally responsible thing to do. Sure, there are these problems, but the chemicals in conventional cleaning products (and personal care products) are significantly more damaging to our water, and our bodies.