Beauty, Health, Skin

Toxin Alert! Why you need to know about 1,4 Dioxane


Have you heard of 1,4 Dioxane? You might want to learn about it as this toxin is  found in products that create suds, like shampoo, liquid soap and bubble bath. According to the Environmental Working Group,  57 percent of baby soaps and 22 percent of all products in Skin Deep may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane.

I didn’t know about this until I read about formaldehyde being found in baby shampoo. Its not actual formaldehyde per se, as I understand it, but a derivative. Sometimes a combination of ingredients will cause a reaction and a whole new toxin can be produced.

is  generated through a process called ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. This process creates 1,4-dioxane. For example, sodium laurel sulfate, a chemical that is harsh on the skin, is often converted to the less-harsh chemical sodium laureth sulfate (the “eth” denotes ethoxylation), which can contaminate this ingredient with 1,4-dioxane.

1,4-dioxane readily penetrates the skin, its considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  and listed as an animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. Its also included on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects! Yet its still  being used in products that we are currently using. Cant we say NO THANK YOU?  I’ll pass.

Repeated exposures to a single carcinogen makes me nervous, although there is little risk from a small exposure here and there. Washing a baby’s hair once with a shampoo containing this is not likely to have an effect.  What concerns me is using these products over and over again in addition to other personal care products also containing known  toxins. Think about all the products you use in a week, or a day. Added up over the years, thats a LOT of exposure to many toxins especially when you consider how we begin bathing our infants soon after they arrive home from the hospital. Who doesn’t love the scent of baby shampoo, baby wash and lotion?

The good news is that 1,4-dioxane can easily be removed from products before they are sold. The bad news is that it is a continued presence in products. This shows us that manufacturers are unwilling to take this step. Why? It probably goes back to money, not concern for the health and safety of consumers. Hey, we’re buying it, right? And the cosmetics industry makes billions of dollars so why change anything?


Stay away from products with – ‘Polyethylene,’ ‘Polyethylene glycol’ ‘Polyoxyethylene. Exposure to these are linked to tumors of the liver, gallbladder, nasal cavity, lung, skin, and breast1,4-dioxane in personal care products poses a big risk since toxic amounts can be absored through the skin, the largest organ of the human body! Up until quite recently I was totally in the dark about any of this, I’m learning right there alongside you. And I don’t like what I’m discovering.

In 2008, testing sponsored by the U.S. Organic Consumers Association found dioxane in almost half of tested organic personal-care products. Is that enough to scare you? It was for me. A lot of testing was done on various products and you can read the entire list here, well worth your time and health.

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