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1,4-DIOXANE-What’s it all about?

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Not sure if you’ve heard or are even aware of the controversy surrounding 1,4 Dioxane in personal care and household products.  I do know that many of you have written to us about it, and are aware of this issue.  The issue was raised by the Organic Consumers Association last year at one of the trade shows we attended.  They had tested a variety of  personal and household products.  Not to jump to far ahead of myself here, but the testing found 1,4-Dioxane is quite a few products found in your natural health food stores from a variety of brands.  Our Dishmate was one of them.  1,4 Dioxane is a byproduct of the way they produce certain cleaning agents used in these products.  These cleaning agents are called surfactants.  One of the surfactants we were using had trace elements of 1,4 Dioxane.  We actually were unaware of this in our product, and had been under the impression from our supplier that it did not exist.  When OCA brought this to our attention we were mortified by it.  Fortunately, we quickly moved to eliminate it from Dishmate, and since last summer it has not been found in any of our products.  This whole issue got us checking everything we’ve been doing from top to bottom all over again.  Now the question that I have not answered for those of you not sure what I’m talking about here, is why is 1,4 Dioxane such a big deal?  Well studies have found that products that contain a high level 1,4 Dioxane can cause cancer in lab mice.  The State of California has enacted legislation that bans levels of 1,4 Dioxane above a certain threshold.  The US EPA is studying whether to do the same on a national basis.  The moral of the story is to make sure that the items you buy in personal care and household do not contain this ingredient in them.  OCA has a web site that shows their test results, but if you really want to dive in deeper the net has quite a few articles on this issue.

John Vlahakis

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