SACRAMENTO, California, January 25, 2013 (ENS) – Procter & Gamble, makers of Tide and Tide Free & Gentle detergents, has agreed in a California court to reduce the levels of the chemical 1,4 dioxane in its laundry products.
The Oakland-based nonprofit organization As You Sow filed a lawsuit against Procter & Gamble for high levels of 1,4 dioxane in their detergents without a warning label in violation of Proposition 65, the California law governing toxic chemical exposure in consumer products.
On January 22, a California Superior Court Judge signed the consent judgment on the case, resolving As You Sow’s claims against Procter & Gamble.
In the consent judgment, the company agreed to reformulate its detergents to reduce levels of 1,4 dioxane to below 25 parts per million.
Procter & Gamble will complete the reformulation process by September of 2013. The women’s groups say it is unlikely that old versions of the product will remain on the shelves long after September.
Although Procter & Gamble signed the agreement in California, the company is likely to distribute the new reformulated products nationwide.
The chemical, 1,4 dioxane, often called dioxane, is a solvent stabilizer classified as a known carcinogen in California under Proposition 65. The U.S. EPA calls the chemical a “probable carcinogen.”
1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of ethoxylation, the process of adding ethylene oxide – a known breast carcinogen – to petroleum-based chemicals in order to make them less harsh.
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances classifies 1,4 dioxane as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen” and says, “Exposure to 1,4-dioxane occurs from breathing contaminated air, ingestion of contaminated food and drinking water, and dermal contact with products such as cosmetics that may contain small amounts of 1,4-dioxane. Exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane can result in liver and kidney damage.”
Levels of 1,4 dioxane exceeding 85 ppm in children’s shampoos indicate that close monitoring of raw materials and finished products is warranted. While the FDA encourages manufacturers to remove 1,4-dioxane from their products, it is not required by federal law.
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