Washington, D.C. – Procter & Gamble has agreed to reformulate Tide and other popular laundry detergents to reduce contamination with 1,4 dioxane, defined as a carcinogen by California consumer product safeguards known as Proposition 65. The giant multinational’s action came in response to a lawsuit filed last year by an Oakland-based nonprofit called As You Sow.
"This decision by Procter and Gamble is not only welcome news for its customers but could ripple across the entire industry, putting P&G's competitors in an uncomfortable position if their products also contain this cancer-causing contaminant," said Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst with Environmental Working Group. "The health and well-being of consumers should play just as an important role in a company's business plan as profits, and this action by one of the world's largest corporations proves it's possible."
EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning rates more than 2,000 household cleaning products, including the Tide line of laundry soaps and detergents. You can see how each scored and other chemicals in them here.
The chemical 1,4-dioxane, used as a solvent in some industrial processes, has been found to contaminate some ingredients widely used in cleaning and body care products. It can be cheaply removed from these ingredients before the final product is manufactured.
"While EWG congratulates P&G for its decision, the consistent advocacy by Women's Voices for the Earth and As You Sow deserves special thanks," said Lunder. "We applaud them for their tireless work, which shows that grassroots groups can be a powerful force in human health and the environment.”
According to a statement issued by Women's Voices for the Earth, Procter & Gamble has promised to reformulate its products by September of this year. It said that although the company has signed the agreement in a California court, it is likely to distribute reformulated products nationwide.