Your Beauty Products May Contain This Scary Carcinogen
A scary carcinogenic ingredient may be lurking in your personal care products (46 percent of them, according to researchers), and lawmakers are calling for action to have it removed immediately. The cancer-causing contaminant, 1,4-dioxane, is commonly found in body products like shower gels, hand soaps and lotions (even children's bath products), but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says there's no reason it should be and "it serves absolutely no purpose."
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We're not sure how it's legal, but brands aren't required to list 1,4-dioxane on their ingredient labels. Therefore, to try to avoid purchasing products with the chemical in them, the EWG advises steering clear of anything containing the following ingredients: PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, and polyoxyethylene.
"A contaminant linked to cancer has no place in personal care products, especially products like bubble bath used by children," Tina Sigurdson, EWG assistant general counsel told us. "EWG urges Congress to update the laws governing personal care products to better protect families from potentially harmful chemicals."
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New York Senator Chuck Schumer recognizes the seriousness of this issue—he says 1,4-dioxane causes eye, nose and throat irritation, and can lead to cancer—and is petitioning the FDA for the ingredient to be removed from all personal care products in the U.S. (it's already banned in Canada).
And, according to Schumer and the EWG, a cost-effective method for removing it from these formulas ("vacuum stripping") already exists. Seems like there's a fairly obvious solution, no?
As more and more brands and consumers join the natural beauty movement, we'll being see more of these calls to action. It's important to be aware of what you're putting on your body—your favorite products should be safe and make you feel good.