Thursday, January 7, 2010

1,4 Dioxane

So you know how we always talk about being “free of SLES, 1,4 dioxane, parabens, phthalates, dyes, etc…”

And you are probably thinking “Great. These things sound unsavory. Don’t want them around my kids. But what in the world are they anyhow?”

Over the next several weeks we will be posting a series of blogs about the different toxins and contaminants commonly found in household cleaners and cosmetics and how you can best protect your families from them. We will also be devoting a section of our site to information every parent should know about keeping a healthy, toxin-free home.

Let’s start with 1,4 dioxane.

What is 1,4 dioxane?

The carcinogen 1,4 dioxane can occur as a byproduct of a process called ethoxylation, during which various chemicals are processed with ethylene oxide to make them more soluble and, in the case of personal care products, to make them gentler on people’s skin. 1,4 dioxane is not to be confused with dioxins, a class of chemical contaminants found in soil and sediment and much lower levels found in air and water.

Why do I need to know about 1,4 dioxane?

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics recently published the following report on toxins in children’s care and bath products:

It’s important reading. But it is 32 pages long. So we have summarized it for you.

In this report the CSC found that:

  • 67% percent of baby products tested were found to be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane
  • 1,4 dioxane is a“probable human carcinogen”
  • Here’s the tricky part: since 1,4 dioxane is a by-products and not an actual ingredients, manufacturers are not required to list it on labels

All this is true not only for cosmetics but for household cleaners as well – many of them labeled natural or organic. See

So what can you do to steer clear of 1,4 dioxane?

  • Check Labels. If the label doesn’t specifically mention that the product is free of 1,4 dioxane, check the ingredient list
  • A common list of ingredients contaminated with 1,4 dioxane include: Peg-100 stearate, Sodium laureth sulfate, Polyethylene, Ceteareth-20.
  • Email Your Favorite Brands.Just check in to see if all of their products are clear of 1,4 dioxane
  • And stay tuned for further safety updates from your Dapple Team

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