New York state makes move to ban 1,4-dioxane

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images

Related tags 1,4-dioxane Water Pollution

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on Monday that means cosmetics and personal care products containing 1,4-dioxane will have some restrictions pertaining to sales in the state.

The bill is scheduled to take effect on January 1st​ 2022 and also includes a complete ban on household cleaning products, which has been found to contaminate drinking water in the state, specifically in Long Island, where it has been found in drinking wells.

For cosmetics and personal care products, the ban will pertain to products containing certain levels of the chemical, deemed to be potentially toxic or dangerous.

What the PCPC says about the ban

Cosmetics Design invited the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) to comment about the ruling. The organization underlined that because 1,4-dioxane is not used as an ingredient working towards the development of manufacturing processes to tackle the its presence as a by product could be most effective.

“The PCPC and our member companies support the achievable limit of 10 parts per million (ppm) set forth by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for 1,4-dioxane, which may be present in trace amounts in some cosmetics and personal care products. While 1,4-dioxane itself is not used as an intentionally added ingredient, it can form as a by-product during the manufacturing process," ​said PCPC ​Chief Scientist, Alex Kowcz.

“It’s important to note that an independent risk assessment conducted by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded that 10 ppm is a safe level for consumers.

“While we appreciate Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this issue, we believe there’s more work to be done to ensure that companies can continue to lower the levels of 1,4-dioxane through advances in the manufacturing process without facing compliance challenges. We remain committed to working with policymakers, as we take seriously the safety of the cosmetics and personal care products that families around the world trust and enjoy every day.”

Targeting cleaner drinking water

The chemical is classified as a likely carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has turned up in water samples all over the U.S., specifically in former industrial sites, where the chemical was often used as a solvent for stabilizers and degreasing.

"As emerging contaminants like 1,4-dioxane continue to show up in water systems around the country, in New York we are taking aggressive action to keep our drinking water clean and safe," ​Governor Cuomo said in a statement. 

"In the absence of federal standards to limit the spread of this harmful contaminant, this new law builds on our efforts to protect and preserve our drinking water resources from these unregulated chemicals that threaten the health of New Yorkers and the environment."

New York state has it the worst

According to Cuomo’s office, 1,4-dioxane is still found in a range of consumer products sold in the U.S. despite the documented evidence that it is a known carcinogen.

When cosmetics, personal care and household products are used, the wash-off from formulations containing 1,4-dioxane is flushed down the drain, with the contaminant being able to enter local water systems.

EPA research has found that the highest levels of contaminant for 1,4-dioxane in the whole country has been found in drinking water in the Long Island area, with elevated readings being found in other municipalities across New York state.

State officials say that to ensure compliance with these requirements, this law will impose civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each day of violation and up to $2,500 each day for a second violation.

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