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Breast Cancer Fund Statement Regarding 1,4-dioxane Contamination Found in Some "Natural" Personal Care Products

Contact: Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246 cell,

The Breast Cancer Fund is concerned by the results of a recent study by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) which documented the presence of 1,4-dioxane—a probable human carcinogen—in a number of personal care products labeled "organic" and "natural."

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. There are inexpensive and effective alternatives to this process and, as the OCA study shows, there are a variety of personal care products on the market today that do not contain 1,4-dioxane.

The Breast Cancer Fund is concerned that consumers cannot easily avoid 1,4-dioxane because it is a contaminant, not an ingredient, so it is not listed on product labels. We strongly urge all manufacturers of personal care products, in both the natural and conventional sectors, to eliminate petroleum-based chemicals from products as soon as possible. We invite cosmetics companies, as well as concerned individuals, to join the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in our efforts to pass laws that require the use of only safe, tested ingredients in personal care products.

Learn more about 1,4-dioxane by reading the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' fact sheet. To view a list of ingredients to look out for on a product label that will indicate the likely presence of 1,4-dioxane, please visit the Environmental Working Group's Web site.