Just when you thought that you were buying nice, happy, not chemically laden, better for the earth products, here comes this news.
Turns out that a study released by the Organic Consumers Association revealed a toxic carcinogenic contaminant called 1,4 Dioxane (no, I don’t know why there is a comma between the numbers) is in many popular brands of body washes, dish soap, and lotions that are labeled “natural” and “organic”. And up until now, the presence of this toxin in these products has been undisclosed.
So no matter how good you were about checking labels for ingredients, you would never have known this was in anything. Great.
Interestingly, products that were certified USDA organic did not contain this toxin, whereas many products that are not certified organic did contained it. Other studies of conventional mainstream products have shown the presence of 1,4 Dioxane before, but this is the first study to implicate brands that claim to be “natural” or “organic”.
According to the Organic Consumers Association:
Ethoxylation, a cheap short-cut companies use to provide mildness to harsh ingredients, requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which generates 1,4-Dioxane as a by-product. 1,4-Dioxane is considered a chemical “known to the State of California to cause cancer” under proposition 65, and has no place in “natural” or “organic” branded personal care products. 1,4-dioxane is also suspected as a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant, among others, according to the California EPA, and is a leading groundwater contaminant. Although previous studies have revealed 1,4-Dioxane is often present in conventional personal care products, this new study indicates the toxin is also present in leading “natural” and “organic” branded products, none of which are certified under the USDA National Organic Program. The products/brands tested are listed on the attached page with the level of 1,4-Dioxane detected, if any, along with ethoxylated ingredients listed on the label.
Seems to me some serious green washing is occurring here. I guess the best way to avoid this phenomenon is to buy only certified organic products, and spend lots of cash in the process.
Click here to view the full product list with amounts of this cancer causing ingredient in each included.
Some of the worst offenders (several brands I have used before!): Citrus Magic 100 % Natural Dish Soap, Jason Fragrance Free Satin Soap, Healthy Times Baby’s Herbal Garden Pansy Flower Shampoo, Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, Aura Cacia Natural Aromatherapy Bubble Bath, NutriBiotic Super Shower Gel Shampoo with GSE (fresh fruit), Alba Passion Fruit Body Wash, Method Dish Naturally Derived Ultra Concentrate and Earth Friendly Products Ultra Dishmate.
I was bummed to see Seventh Generation products on this list as containing this contaminant, even if the amount of 1,4 Dioxane found in their products was low.
Companies that seemed to have none of this contaminant present (in the products they tested) are: Burt’s Bees, Dr. Bronner’s, Clorox Green Works products, TerrEssential, Desert Essence, Aubrey Organics, and Avalon Organics, among others.
The Washington Post also published a short article on this study. You can read it here. I’m planning on learning more about this particular contaminant by doing some more research, but I wanted to get this article out to readers as soon as possible.