Polyethylene glycols (PEGs) also known as 1,4-dioxane (Dioxane) is a clear, colorless, volatile liquid that readily mixes with or dissolves in water as explained by Cosmetics Info. Well known environmentalist David Suzuki wrote a blog on this very topic, here are some of the best parts for you:
PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system and the California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development. 1,4-dioxane is also persistent. In other words, it doesn’t easily degrade and can remain in the environment long after it is rinsed down the shower drain.
1,4-dioxane can be removed from cosmetics during the manufacturing process by vacuum stripping, but there is no easy way for consumers to know whether products containing PEGs have undergone this process.
In a study of personal care products marketed as “natural” or “organic” (uncertified), U.S. researchers found 1,4-dioxane as a contaminant in 46 of 100 products analyzed. It is important to note that EverEscents Organic Hair Care does not use ANY PEG’s (1,4-dioxane) in any of the hair care products we produce.
While carcinogenic contaminants are the primary concern, PEG compounds themselves show some evidence of genotoxicity and if used on broken skin can cause irritation and systemic toxicity. The industry panel that reviews the safety of cosmetics ingredients concluded that some PEG compounds are not safe for use on damaged skin (although the assessment generally approved of the use of these chemicals in cosmetics). Also, PEG functions as a “penetration enhancer,” increasing the permeability of the skin to allow greater absorption of the product — including harmful ingredients.
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on 1,4-DIOXANE. 1,4-DIOXANE or PEGS highlights that they may exert its effects through inhalation, skin absorption, and ingestion.
1,4-Dioxane is listed as a CARCINOGEN. The effects of overexposure of 1,4-DIOXANE are:
Waves on Capel 0452 061 418