Many Well Known Laundry Detergents Contain Cancer Causing Ingredients

For many the thought of their laundry detergent being a source of unwanted cancer promoting chemicals in their household sounds strange. However,there is an ingredient that many companies use in laundry detergents,hair care products, and cleaning formulas that is cancer causing. A synthetic petrochemical carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane.

Since hair care products, cleaning formulas and laundry detergents are all susceptible to containing this toxic chemical byproduct, which is not listed on product labels, David Steinman from the Green Patriot Working Group (GPWG) began a study in 2007 to see which consumer products are the worst offenders. This year, his organization along with the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), released the results of a portion of the study conducted last year on laundry detergents.

When cleaning products and detergents are processed using ethoxylation, a cheap technique that lessens the severity of the harsher ingredients, 1,4-dioxane is created. Since it is considered a byproduct of ethylene oxide reacting with other ingredients, 1,4-dioxane is technically considered a contaminant and thus does not have to be included on product labeling. As a result, consumers are largely unaware of its presence in major household products.

For the study, Steinman evaluated 20 different laundry detergents from both conventional and “natural” brands. Evoxa, an independent, third-party laboratory that is highly respected for its rigorous methods and high standards, conducted all product testing. The results are as follows:

Conventional brands:
1. Tide (P&G) – 55 parts per million (ppm)
2. Ivory Snow Gentle (P&G) – 31 ppm
3. Tide Free (P&G) – 29 ppm
4. Purex (Dial Corp.) – 25 ppm
5. Gain 2X Ultra (P&G) – 21 ppm
6. Cheer BrightClean Detergent (P&G) – 20 ppm
7. Era 2X Ultra (P&G) – 14 ppm
8. Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight Co.) – 5.0 ppm
9. Wisk 2X Ultra (Sun Products Corp.) – 3.9 ppm
10. Woolite Complete Detergent (Reckitt Benckiser) – 1.3 ppm
11. All laundry detergent (Unilever) – 0.6 ppm
12. Dreft powdered detergent (P&G) – non-detectable (ND)
13. Sun Burst (Sun Products Corp.) – ND


Shaklee Corporation has been green even before it became a trendy thing to do. Shaklee creates a line of cleaning products called Get Clean that we love around our home.

One particular formula that works well for stains is what I called Soak the Impossible. You know those stains that you think you will never get out. I challenge you to try this on some of your tough stains and you will pleasantly surprised. I have even had people tell me that they have used products like OxyClean and have not had the good results that they have had with this formula.

Green Clean ShakleeSpeedyFormulas2009to see some quick cleaning formulas with Shaklee Get Clean Products

SOAK THE IMPOSSIBLE: Use 1/8 C. Fresh Laundry
Concentrate (Powder) or Fresh Laundry Concentrate
(Liquid) with 1/8 C. Nature Bright. Dissolve in water
and soak clothing

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About the Author

Caroline Heinemann has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Concordia Teachers College in Seward Nebraska. She has coordinated a variety of educational programs in her local community and conducts regional business training events and teleconference training calls. She become personally interested in health when she experienced some personal health issues and found that alternative medicine has been the key to her health. She shares tips on staying healthy. She is a former and teacher and has owned her own health education business for the past 30 years

3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. kazumi yamakawa December 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm -

    Detergents injure our health and the environment but like many articles written on this subject, the most toxic chemical compound contained in these products is often missed. 1,4 diozane is bad and should not be in detergents. But even worse are the cleaning agents found in all currently sold laundry brands, even the green labels. Detergent producers don’t want to talk about it because they all say cleaning agents are absolutely necessary to make a detergent that works. The best that can be said by the propagation of this myth is this is wrong, the worst is this is a huge and very damaging con. I’ve started a blog to get more info about the damaging effects of surfactants that can be found at I hope your readers will take a look. We need to stop detergent makers from using current “cleaning agents”, we need to get surfactants out of all our cleaning products.

  2. nicole December 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm -

    i cant belive that the detergent that i use can have a chemial that can give your skin cancer

  3. amy toner January 12, 2012 at 2:13 am -

    In August 2010, I was balancing my toddler, a load of laundry and a typical brand name, store purchased detergent and a downward flight to the ye old washing machine. Needless to say, I lost a little balance and something had to be down the stairs the detergent did roll to of course bust at the lip of the container. In no more than 2 min., I was wiping up the liquid and to my surprise all of the floors grey paint that had come in contact with the spill, was stripping and turning my rag that infamous cement basement grey color….so rather than strip my own skins color and content, I’ve made my own soap sense;),since.

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