Lawmakers hope to ban suspected carcinogen found in most homes

Legislative Gazette photo by Brendan Roney
Assemblyman Steve Englebright stands beside Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, to discuss a bill that would ban the chemical 1, 4 dioxane, which is found in common household cleaning and hygiene products. Long Island’s water supply has the highest concentration of 1,4 dioxane in the United States.

A pair of Long Island lawmakers is proposing a bill to ban the chemical compound 1,4 dioxane in all cleaning, hygiene and beauty products sold in New York to address a growing crisis with the state’s drinking water.

According to the EPA 1,4-dioxane is a likely human carcinogen and has been found in groundwater at sites throughout the United States. It is highly mobile and does not readily biodegrade in the environment. Short-term exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane may result in nausea, drowsiness, headache, and irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.

According to research by the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, some common household products that include 1,4-dioxane are Tide Original Detergents, Pantene Pro-V shampoo, Gain Original Detergent, Victoria’s Secret Love Body Wash, Dawn Dish Soap, Old Spice Shower Gel/Shampoo and many more cosmetic and cleaning products.

“Long Island has the highest amount of 1,4-dioxane in the public water. This is a preview of our water supply in the future if we don’t pass this bill,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Recently, Esposito joined Assemblyman Steve Englebright at a press conference in Albany urging the state Senate and Assembly to ban 1,4-dioxane from personal care products.

Senator Todd Kaminsky and Englebright have introduced a bill (S.4389/A.6295) to combat the 1,4-dioxane in our household products. The bill states that “no person shall sell or offer for sale any personal cosmetic product containing 1,4-dioxane, other than such trace concentrations as may be authorized by the [Health] commissioner, in consultation with the Department of Health by regulations.”

Citizens Campaign for the Environment helped collect 12,000 signatures going door-to-door on Long Island to ban the chemical.

“We know that 1,4-dioxane is contaminating our drinking water on Long Island. We have a serious problem,” said Englebright, who chairs the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee. “It’s becoming more common, more so on Long Island than in any other part of the state.”

The Kaminsky-Englebright bill is currently in the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

“We shouldn’t pollute our water if we can stop it, this is a call to action for the rest of the state, It is spreadable and avoidable,” Englebright said.

Legislative Gazette photo by Brendan Roney
A petition with more than 12,000 signatures calling for a ban of 1,4 dioxane from household products in New York state.