If you are like a lot of yogis, you probably head to your local food coop or Whole Foods to buy beauty and cleaning products that seem safer for you and the environment than the ones sold at the supermarket. You may be surprised to learn that new tests of 100 natural and organic soaps, shampoos and cleansers showed that 47 had detectable levels of 1,4-dioxane, a cancer-causing chemical that is a byproduct of petrochemicals used in manufacturing, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Most traditional soaps and shampoos contain 1,4-dioxane. But the discovery that the chemical is present in many .... that are advertised as being natural, organic or 'green' comes as somewhat of a surprise.... The compound is not intentionally added to products; it is a byproduct of a process used to soften harsh detergents. It is formed when foaming agents, or surfactants, are processed with ethylene oxide or similar petrochemicals... The chemical is not listed on ingredient labels. Products most likely to contain the compound usually list polyethylene glycol or compounds with the syllables PEG, short for polyethylene glycol, -eth or -oxynol-,according to the FDA."
It seems looking for USDA-certified organic brands is a safe bet: those that were tested in the study were free of 1,4-dioxane including, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps 18-in-1 Hemp Almond Pure Castile Soap, Sensibility Soaps (Nourish brand), and TerrEssential Organic Baby Wash.
For the full list of 100 products tested, visit www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/DioxaneAlert080314.pdf.
Let me know if your favorite product contains 1,4-dioxane and if you plan to continue using it. You should know that the the FDA says the current levels of 1,4-dioxane "do not present a hazard to consumers."