In a study released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and written up in the L.A. Times, 18 of 18 bath products tested contained traces of 1,4-Dioxane, a suspected carcinogen. Three of the products — Clairol Herbal Essences Rainforest Flowers Shampoo, Olay Complete Body Wash With Vitamins, and Hello Kitty Bubble Bath — contained levels higher than those recommended by the FDA. Goodbye, Kitty.
What makes this news particularly troubling is that 1,4-Dioxane is a byproduct of the manufacturing process, which means you’re unlikely to see it listed on any labels. You can, however, watch out for ingredients that may signal the presence of 1,4-Dioxane.
1,4-Dioxane may be a contaminant in cosmetics, detergents, and shampoos that contain the following ingredients (which may be listed on the product label): “PEG,” “polyethylene,” “polyethylene glycol,” “polyoxyethylene,” “-eth-,” or “-oxynol-.”
Now, 18 out of 18 products tested is a pretty alarming number — if random. Considering how many bath gels, shampoos, and other goodies we use, we should probably all start paying a little more attention to the yummy-smelling stuff we’re slathering on our skin.