This bill prohibits the distribution and sale of household cleansing products and personal cosmetic products containing 1,4 dioxane. Keeping this dangerous chemical out of widely-used products is necessary to protect our health and our waterways.
The U.S. EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” It is included on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer or birth defects. Studies have found that exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane can cause chronic kidney and liver effects as well as liver cancer.
1,4-dioxane is found in industrial solvents and paint strippers, and in cosmetics, detergents, shampoos and other home care products. It is generally found in cosmetic and household products that create suds, like shampoos, hair relaxers, liquid soap, detergents and bubble bath. 1,4-dioxane is not used as a direct ingredient in cosmetics, but forms as a byproduct during the manufacturing of certain cosmetic ingredients in a process called ethoxylation. For that reason, the FDA does not require 1,4 dioxane to be listed as an ingredient, making it difficult for consumers to avoid it. Alternative manufacturing processes do exist to avoid the use or production of 1,4-dioxane. Substituting alternative chemicals into the manufacturing process can avoid ethoxylation altogether. In addition, vacuum-stripping can remove 1,4-dioxane from a product.
1,4 dioxane flows down our drains from product use and has been found in groundwater throughout the United States and has been especially prevalent on Long Island. The NYS Department of Health estimates that 89 wells statewide, 82 of them on Long Island, likely have 1,4-dioxane levels above one part per billion and require treatment. The NYS Drinking Water Quality Council recommended in December 2018 that 1,4 dioxane be regulated at one part per billion in drinking water, but this has yet to be implemented by the NYS Department of Health. New York would be the first in the nation to regulate 1,4 dioxane in drinking water, if implemented.
This bill would prohibit the distribution and sale of household cleansing products and over-the-counter cosmetic products containing 1,4 dioxane, other than in trace amounts. This bill takes effect on December 31, 2021.