The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), the trade association representing the cleaning products industry, issued a statement to clear up any confusion about the impact of a New York State law affecting detergent products that consumers use safely and effectively every day.
The law in question strictly limits trace levels of 1,4-dioxane in detergents and cleaning products (among other products). That law went into effect on December 31, 2022.
It is important to highlight that 1,4-dioxane is not an ingredient in detergents and cleaning products, but rather a by-product of the manufacturing processes, present at very low trace levels. Additionally, according to a 2020 determination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “certain consumer products containing the by-product 1,4-dioxane do not present an unreasonable risk of injury to human health or the environment.”
Despite some erroneous media reports, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has not announced or imposed restrictions on the use or sale of detergent products (as of late January 2023).
Leading detergent manufacturers have worked diligently with their chemical suppliers and committed to be in compliance with the New York law. Many companies have otherwise utilized a waiver process set forth by DEC signifying those companies’ efforts to further lower the trace levels of 1,4-dioxane, as required by law.
Background: Recent media coverage highlighted misleading information referencing test results about 1,4-dioxane conducted by a third-party lab. Those stories included false claims that certain detergent products are not in compliance with New York's laws, or that they are illegal or banned. These products were analyzed months before the law went into effect and not reflecting the recent changes made by the manufacturers.
Analytical methods do matter. To ensure consistency and high quality for the testing methodologies, the American Cleaning Institute co-authored a new study that assesses the methodologies to measure 1,4-dioxane in commercial products. Because of the complexity of consumer product formulations and the extremely low 1,4-dioxane concentrations mandated by New York’s law, optimum conditions for measurement are evaluated.
The authors noted the advantages and disadvantages of various methodologies and make specific technical recommendations for which methods and standards should be used.
The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – www.cleaninginstitute.org) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors. ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.