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EWG Surveys Personal Care Product Companies About 1,4-Dioxane

Contact: 
(202) 939-9140
monica@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Monday, April 17, 2017

WASHINGTON The Environmental Working Group is surveying U.S. makers of personal care products to ask if they are working to remove 1,4-dioxane, a likely human carcinogen, from their products. According to EWG’s Skin Deep® database, at least 8,000 products on the market contain ethoxylated ingredients, which may be contaminated with the chemical.

Last week, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban 1,4-dioxane from personal care products. EWG followed up today by sending its survey to approximately 500 makers of shampoos, shower gels, body washes, foaming hand soaps, bubble baths and lotions. 1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of other cosmetics chemicals that may be used in those products.

“The health risks posed by exposure to 1,4-dioxane deserve immediate action from the FDA,” said Scott Faber, EWG's senior vice president of government affairs. “Manufacturers need to be aware of the hazardous substances found in their personal care products. American families – especially those with young children – need to know the chemicals they’re exposed to when they wash their hair, cleanse their skin and fill their tubs with bubble bath.”

The survey asks manufacturers if they use ethoxylated ingredients in their products and what steps they’re taking to strip 1,4-dioxane from those ingredients.

“Personal care products are largely unregulated and real reform is long overdue,” said Tina Sigurdson, EWG's assistant general counsel. “The federal law designed to ensure that personal care products are safe has remained largely unchanged since 1938. The FDA doesn’t even require manufacturers to prove personal care products are safe before putting them on store shelves.”