US senator pressures FDA to ban 1,4 Dioxane from cosmetics

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

US senator pressures FDA to ban 1,4 Dioxane from cosmetics

Related tags Personal care products

Senator Charles Schumer has officially called on the FDA to take action to strip 1,4 Dioxane from a range of consumer products such as shampoos, shower gels and lotions.

Senator Schumer’s action follow the revelation that the likely carcinogen 1,4 Dioxane was recently found to be present in the drinking water supply for Long Island, raising awareness of the chemical and its potential dangers.

The chemical is heterocylic organic compound classified as an ether and is commonly used as a solvent for a wide range of applications, as well as an stabilizer for the transport of chlorinated hydrocarbons.

No requirement to label 

In cosmetics and personal care products 1,4 Dioxane is not required to be listed on a product ingredient lists, despite significant scientific evidence that it is a likely carcinogen.

The presence of the chemical generally sometimes arises as a byproduct of the ethoxylation process, which is commonly used in the formulation of cleansing and moisturizing products.

But in an official press release from the Senator’s office highlighting his demand to the FDA, it states that 1,4 Dioxane is commonly used as a solvent in a range of personal care products to help create suds in products such as shampoos and shower gels.

Removal of 1,4 Dioxane is cost-effective

Senator Schumer believes that any personal care products likely to contain the chemical should be processed using a cost-effective technology that has been found to remove the chemical as a mandated requirement.

“The fact that 1,4 Dioxane, a potentially dangerous chemical, is hiding out in everyday products expected to make us clean is very disturbing, and to make matters worse, likely carcinogens like this one can be even more harmful to kids,”​ said Senator Schumer.

“This likely cancer-causing toxin serves no purpose in these products and is not even identified on packaging so it’s time we drain it from everyday products to make Long Island’s water safer. With the technology available to minimize 1,4 -Dioxane in toiletries, the FDA should do everything in their power to remove this likely carcinogen from products before those products hit store shelves.”

Petition to the FDA

Last Thursday, Schumer revealed that he is filing a formal petition asking that the FDA take action to prohibit the presence of any detectable presence of the contaminant in cosmetic and personal care products.

The petition has also received the backing of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who has played an active role in lobbying the EPA to regulate 1,4 Dioxane under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Senator Schumer’s move was supported by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which has also campaigned for the removal of the chemical from personal care products.

“There is absolutely no reason why companies can’t remove 1,4-dioxane from personal care products,”​ Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president of government affairs, said.
“This contaminant is linked to cancer and serves absolutely no purpose in cosmetics. We applaud Senator Schumer for demanding that the FDA require all companies remove 1,4-dioxane from the products we use every day.”

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