Future Problem

"Beginning December 31, 2022, New York will restrict the use of 1,4-dioxane to 10 ppm in formulations for leave-on cosmetics. On December 31, 2023, 1,4-dioxane limits will drop to 1 ppm for all rinse-off cosmetics and household cleaning products. 1,4-dioxane - a potential carcinogen - is a by-product of ethoxylated surfactants used in shampoos, body washes, common household cleaners, and detergents."

This means SLES is out the window - as i understand.
ALS ans SLS is not an option, due to harshnes/penetration ... what anionic surfacant will have the SAME cleaning effect - and not penetrate skin ...

Need one that really clean, but not penetrate  ( and dont have contaminations  :)


  • EVchemEVchem Member
    Where did you pull that quote from if you don't mind me asking?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    There isn't one that will have the SAME cleaning effect.  Products will necessarily perform worse.

    SLES and sulfates in general have been under fire for at least 2 decades. And in those years formulators from companies around the industry have been looking for suitable replacements. There aren't any that match performance / cost. If there were, the industry would be using them.

    Use SLS or ALS. Then formulate with other ingredients to mitigate the harshness.
  • lmoscalmosca Member
    @Umff, unfortunately, there is no way to get rid of dioxane when producing ethoxylated products when performing reactions with ethylene oxide. 
    You can make ethoxylated stuff by producing the poly(ethylene oxide) chain before hand, purifying it, and reacting that further to give you your final product. Going one way or the other has a process cost difference of 100-500x.

    Ethoxylated stuff is a huge market, not only for the personal care. Eventually the industry will have to comply with the law and find better ways to purify their products. (Which is good, for prices of pure dioxane have increased due to many factors, purifying it out will produce an added value by-product that companies can sell to research labs where it is needed). Or reduce the amount of dioxane produced as by-product (bad, as pure dioxane prices will skyrocket, like it happened to acetonitrile about 13 years ago)

    @EVchem , he is referring to this NY senate bill 

    It's likely that many other states will follow, California might be next.
  • So it’s not only SLES it’s Polysorbates and all PEGs?
  • lmoscalmosca Member
    @ngarayeva001, likely yes... see this link

    It is possible that supply will be uninterrupted, but prices may rise as production and purification will be changed to meet specs.
  • AgateAgate Member
    I'm considering using Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate. Is it made using ethylene oxide? I've read that isethionates are made through ethoxylation, yet the manufacturer claims that it's "1,4-Dioxane free", so I'm not sure what's true.
  • UmffUmff Member
    Agate - i seen both statment as well....lets somone who is brighter then us say something :)

  • lmoscalmosca Member
    @Agate isethionic acid is made by treating ethylene oxide with sodium bisulfite. Technically this could be considered as an ethoxylation reaction (of the bisulfite anion). 
    I couldn't find any reliable report on residual levels of dioxane in isethionic acid. Most of the comments about dioxane in isethionates are very well clustered among websites and blogs that are very well known chemical scaremongers, which is to say that they've seen the word "ethylene oxide" and lost their minds about it.

    However, the fact that isethionic acid (precursor to isethionates like SCI) is used to manufacture taurine (which is used in food). It's also a very small ionic compound, with no surfactant ability by itself. Purification is a lot easier to perform on these.
  • AgateAgate Member
    @lmosca Thanks for explaining, that makes sense to me now. Since you're saying that isethionic acid can be relatively easily purified I imagine that's how they're making it "1,4-dioxane free".
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