About this Chemical

  • Found in products that create suds (such as shampoo, liquid soap, bubble bath), as well as paint strippers, dyes, greases, varnishes, and waxes. Residues may also be present in manufactured food additives or on food crops treated with pesticides that contain 1,4-dioxane (such as, vine-ripened tomatoes)
  • 1,4-dioxane is a carcinogen linked to organ toxicity and may be found in as many as 22 percent of the more than 25,000 cosmetics products in the Skin Deep database, but you won’t find it on ingredient labels. That’s because 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant created when common ingredients react to form the compound when mixed together.
  • 1,4-dioxane is generated through a process called ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. This process creates 1,4-dioxane. For example, sodium laurel sulfate, a chemical that is harsh on the skin, is often converted to the less-harsh chemical sodium laureth sulfate (the “eth” denotes ethoxylation)
  • What to look for on the label: Sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth and oleth