by Mila McManus, MD
Are you using Arm & Hammer Clean Burst, Tide Original, Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear, or Gain Original + Aroma Boost? You may want to reconsider….
New York state recently banned laundry detergents containing more than 2 PPM of 1,4-dioxane after recognizing the health concerns that 1,4-dioxane is a potential carcinogen found in laundry detergents.
Exposure to 1,4-dioxane occurs by inhaling or ingesting contaminated air, food, or fumes from detergent, or from sheets or clothing that have been washed in the detergent. Exposure can also take place through skin contact (e.g., in lotions). Because it evaporates quickly, breathing the fumes pose the greatest risk, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
1,4-dioxane would not be included on an ingredient list because it enters detergent products through ethoxylation, a chemical processing that takes place in the manufacturing stage, and so is a byproduct of processing. It takes lab equipment to detect it. Animal studies have flagged 1,4-dioxane as a potential carcinogen, although it is not the only harmful contaminant in laundry detergents. Skin irritation and rashes from popular laundry brands are common.
According to Lydia Jahl, PhD, a science and policy associate with Green Science Policy Institute, the best approach is to avoid detergents with ingredients like “polyethylene glycol (PEG), polysorbates, and chemicals ending in “-eth” or “oxynol” such as sodium laureth sulfate, which might suggest, though not confirm, that 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant.
The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) has rated dozens of laundry detergents and at least twenty of them have received an “A” rating. Here are some of the cleaner, less toxic brand names:
Aspen Clean Martha Stewart Clean Puracy
Attitude Nature’s Promise Sensitive Home
Better Life Dropps Seventh Generation
Common Good O Organics Simple Truth Organic
Blueland Earthley Whole Foods Green Mission
Dirty Labs Bio Go By
365 Everyday Value Greenshield
9 Elements Grab Green
Hello Bello Presto!
Lazy Coconuts PUR Home
Be clean, Be Healthy.