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    Saturday
    Jan222011

    Ethoxylated Compounds

    When a chemical is produced using the carcinogen ethylene oxide, it is known as an "ethoxylated" compound.  During the processing of an ethoxylated compounds, a carcinogenic byproduct is created called 1,4-dioxane.  Many ethoxylated compounds are used in cosmetic and personal care products, and commonly contain traces of 1,4-dioxane.  This carcinogen has been found in even in supposedly "natural" brands.  Thanks to the Organic Consumers association and the EWG Cosmetics Database, the word about ethoxylated compounds is spreading every.

    How to spot an ethoxylated compound. 

     

    There are three easy ways to spot an ethoxylated compound. First is looking out for "PEG." PEG stands for polyethylene glycol. Polyethylene Glycol is used in cosmetics as a skin conditioner and emulsifier. It usually is followed by a number, reading PEG-200. The number following the PEG is the number of moles (a unit of measure in chemistry) that the glycol has been treated with. So PEG-40 is polyethylene glycol treated with ethylene oxide 40 times, in simplified terms. The higher the number, the more ethylene oxide it's been treated with.  Second, look for the suffix "eth." Sodium laureth sulfate or ceteareth-20 are two examples. The "eth" indicates it has been treated with ethylene oxide.

    Third, look for dashes followed by a number, as in steareth-20.

     

    The CosmeticsDatabase has become a go-to resource for thousands of people looking for safer cosmetics.  It lists many ethoxylated compounds and flags them for their hazard with 1,4-dioxane conamination.  However, the database has missed this hazard on a number of ingredients.  Let's help the Cosmetics Database spread the word about the dangers of ethoxylated compounds and get the correct scores assigned to these ingredients.  Cut and paste the following in an e-mail and send it to skindeep@ewg.org

    Thank you for the work you do at the Cosmetics Database!  I wanted to bring a number of ethoxylated compounds in the database that have not yet been flagged for 1,4-dioxane contamination. 

     

    Polysorbate-20 is also known as PEG(20) sorbitan monolaurate.  It currently scores a 1, "low hazard" score and needs to be much higher, like other PEG compounds for its 1,4-dioxane contamination concern..  

     

    Polysorbate-40 is also known as PEG(40) sorbitan monopalmitate.  It currently scores a 1, "low hazard" score and needs to be much higher, like other PEG compounds for its 1,4-dioxane contamination concern..  

     

    Polysorbate-60 is also known as PEG(20) sorbitan monostearate.  It currently scores s 1, "low hazard" score and should be much higher, like other PEG compounds for its 1,4-dioxane contamination concern..

     

    Polysorbate-80 is also known as PEG(20) sorbitan monooleate.  It currently scores a 2, "low hazard" score and should be much higher, like other PEG compounds for its 1,4-dioxane contamination concern..  

     

    Steareth-20 is also known as PEG-20 stearyl ether.  It currently scores a 1, "low hazard" score and should be much higher.  According to this ingredient listing:  "About STEARETH-20: Steareth-20 is a synthetic polymer composed of PEG (polyethylene glycol) and stearyl alcohol. Due to the presence of PEG, this ingredient may contain potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane." Yet, the box for "contamination concerns" is not checked; it should be!  

     

    Steareth-100 is also known as PEG-100 stearyl ether.  It currently scores a 1, "low hazard" score and should be much higher, like other PEG-compounds for its 1,4-dioxane contamination concern.

     

    Other listings that need to be updated with 1,4-dioxane concerns include:

     Steareth-21

     Steareth-2

     Steareth-10

     Steareth-4

     Isosteareth-20

     Acrylates/Steareth-20 itaconate copolymer

     Steareth-16

     Disteareth-75 IPDI

     Isosteareth-10

     Isosteareth-2

     Disteareth 100 IPDI

     

    Thank you for your attention to the matter

    We CAN make a difference!  Spread this through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter until these chemicals get the score they deserve!

     

     

    Reader Comments (3)

    I see people recommending Polysorbate-80 for a scalp topical DHT extractor, basically....

    http://paleohacks.com/questions/28568/questions-about-my-hair-loss#ixzz1ZvOWGKYs
    "One thing to try is to replace your shampoo with polysorbate-80. Wet your scalp, rub in a few drops into your scalp for about 3 minutes or so, then rinse it out. It pulls out the DHT."

    Sat, September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean

    You are an idiot. Chemical plants strip for Dioxane and EO and have to pass monograph testing. They always have 0 ppm EO and Dioxane after the strip process.

    Sat, July 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMREN

    You, MREN, are naive. How, then, were products tested and found to contain 1,4-dioxane: http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/DioxaneRelease08.cfm

    How, then, does the CDC acknowledge that consumer products can be contaminated by 1,4-dioxane: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=953&tid=199

    Maybe you live in a different part of the world, where consumer products go through more processing or testing or have more rigorous standards, but in the US it still is a risk.

    Thu, August 7, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

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