The Organic Consumers Association recently conducted testing on leading “natural” and “organic” shampoos, lotions, and body products. That’s how I found out the Seventh Generation liquid dish detergent I’ve been using contains 1,4-Dioxane, a foaming agent by-product. This chemical is believed to cause damage to the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys. On January 1, 1988, California recognized it as a chemical that can cause cancer.
On the back of Seventh Generation’s liquid detergent, it states, “We use only ingredients that do not pose any chronic health risks and are safe for the environment. We disclose all ingredients.” After the results of the testing were published, SG responded on their blog. They chose to disclose this only after getting caught.
The level of 1,4-Dioxane was low compared to others tested (levels listed in parts per million):
Method Dish Naturally Derived Ultra Concentrate – 27.5
Citrus Magic 100% Natural Dish Liquid – 97.1
Life Tree Citrus Fresh Dish Soap – 0.7
Seventh Generation Lemongrass & Clementine Zest Natural Dish Liquid – 1.5
Planet Ultra Dishwashing Liquid – 20.3
Ecover Dishwashing Liquid – 2.4
Whole Foods Market 365* Everyday Value Dish Liquid – 1.6
Through a forum member at Greenandcleanmom.org, I learned about Dapple, a dish detergent that does not contain 1,4-Dioxane. I sent an email to one of the co-founders, Dana Rubenstein, and she confirmed this, adding that it also does not contain Sodium Laureth Ether Sulfate. SLES is an inexpensive by-product used as a foaming agent that mimics the hormone Oestrogen. It may be responsible for a variety of health problems from breast cancer, PMS, and dropping male fertility, where Oestrogen levels are known to be involved.