1, 4-Dioxane in Organic Body Care Products

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It literally pains me to write this post. It seems as though the moment I have everything under control as far as safe products go, something else pops up. And honestly, I try incredibly hard not to make this website feel “alarmist” and “We’re all gonna diiiiiieeee” in it’s tone but this is one of those times where I just can’t help it. I found an article last week about dioxane and tried to ignore it, but then I found a similar one so here’s the reported scoop:

Cancer-causing agent 1, 4-dioxane is known to be present in many conventional personal care products. But a new study released March 14 by the Organic Consumer Association (OCA) shows that the toxin is also present in many leading brands of claimed natural and uncertified organic shampoos, body washes, lotions and other personal care products.

1,4 dioxane is, by definition, used in solvent applications for manufacturing. The chemical is also used as a foaming agent and appears as an accidental byproduct of a process in cosmetics manufacturing. It may contaminate cosmetics and personal care products such as deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Why should I be concerned? I’ll tell you. Dioxane is a known eye and respiratory irritant and is suspected of causing damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. Accidental exposure to people working with it has been known to cause deaths. Dioxane is classified by the IARC as a Group 2B carcinogen: possibly carcinogenic to humans due to the fact that it is a known carcinogen in animals.

Some of the leading brands that tested positive for 1, 4-dioxane include Jason Pure Natural & Organic, Giovanni Organic Cosmetics, Kiss My Face, Nature’s Gate Organics. Some of the leading brands that did not test positive for the toxin include all USDA Certified brands including Dr. Bronner’s Sensibility Soaps (Nourish), Terressentials and all German Natural “BDIH” Certified brands including Aubrey Organics and Dr. Hauschka.

One of the things that always frustrates me the most about this kind of information is that there is a billion sites telling you why its bad, BAD, BAD! but they never give you the information needed to avoid it.

How to Avoid it:

  • Always be weary of products that say they are all natural or organic. Read labels. There is nothing stopping companies from this claim right now.
  • Buy products that are certified under the USDA National Organic Program or a similar German Program and products that bear the “USDA Organic” seal.
  • Avoid products with synthetic ethoxylated ingredients including those with strange names like myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth and other “eth”, PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol.
  • Reference the list of products tested in this FoodConsumer.org article.

Read the full article: FoodConsumer.org

Update: Here is the source list of products tested by the Organic Consumer Association.

Posted by: SafeMama Kathy on March 18, 2008


4 Responses to “1, 4-Dioxane in Organic Body Care Products”

  1. Jenna on March 19th, 2008 5:16 am

    UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH! But you did save me literally just in time– I was just about to complete an order for a Jason moisturizer. Back to the drawing board. This is all so frustrating!

  2. Two Great Green Mamas | LILL's LIST on March 19th, 2008 9:15 pm

    […] have something nice to say about two people whose blogs have taught me a lot. Kathy at Safe Mama and Karen at Best of Mother Earth. I subscribe to both of their blogs and they’re two of the […]

  3. soapchix on March 23rd, 2008 2:27 am

    “It literally pains me to write this”…yes, we often say that, too!

    When we point out that Lush, BBW, Melt, etc. are full of chemicals,it breaks people’s hearts. It’s hard to be the bearer of bad (but true) news!

  4. Johnson’s Baby Cream–not so good for baby. « Serendipity Soap Dish on March 28th, 2008 4:47 am

    […] known as 1,4 Dioxane. SafeMama has a great blog as to why this is a no-no in cosmetic products, here: Dioxane is a known eye and respiratory irritant and is suspected of causing damage to the central […]