For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Phone: 218-226-4164

Procter & Gamble Agrees to Reformulate Herbal Essences Due to Toxic Contaminant

WASHINGTON -  On Friday March 12, 2010, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a
watchdog group with over 850,000 members, and The Green Patriot Working
Group (GPWG), led by environmental health consumer advocate David
Steinman (in cooperation with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a
national coalition of health and environmental groups) will announce
the details of an agreement from Procter and Gamble (P&G) to
reformulate 18 products from its top-selling Herbal Essences brand to
reduce levels of the carcinogenic petrochemical 1,4-dioxane. In
addition, they will announce new results from a continuing study that
has tested over 150 consumer products for the toxic chemical, which is
a contaminant and therefore not listed on product labels. This year, 20
laundry detergents were tested, including major "natural" and
conventional brands. Ironically, the seven laundry detergent brands
from P&G had by far the highest levels of 1,4-dioxane overall. The
independent third-party laboratory, Exova, known for rigorous testing
and chain-of-custody protocols, performed all testing.  

P&G's promise to reformulate its Herbal Essences line follows a
notice of intent  to file a lawsuit filed by the GPWG against P&G
(as well as lawsuits filed by the California Attorney General's office
in June 2008 directed at other manufacturers) for dangerous levels of
1,4-dioxane as established by proposition 65. The OCA, CSC, and GPWG
consider cooperation from industry leader P&G (with a 40% share of
the hair care market in 2003) to be a significant step forward in the
campaign for all brands to remove unnecessary 1,4-dioxane and other
carcinogenic and harmful chemicals from consumer products.

Press Conference Details


David Steinman, founder, the Green Patriot Working Group    

Ronnie Cummins, executive director, Organic Consumers Association    

In cooperation with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Clean Water Action     

WHEN:     Friday, March 12, 2010 9:00am PST (prior to the opening of Natural Products Expo West)     

WHERE:     Ramada Plaza Hotel, 515 W. Katella Ave. Anaheim CA, 92802, California 1 Room  


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1,4-dioxane is generated as a byproduct of ethoxylation, a cheap
shortcut used by companies to provide mildness to harsh cleaning
ingredients, which requires use of the cancer-causing petrochemical
ethylene oxide. 1,4-dioxane is considered a chemical "known to the
State of California to cause cancer" under proposition 65, and is also
suspected as a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant,
among others, according to the California EPA. While previous press
conferences on this topic have revealed the presence of 1,4-dioxane in
personal care and household cleaning products (including products
targeted at babies and children) and tracked improvement as certain
"natural" and conventional brands reformulated, this year's press
conference will focus on the problem of groundwater and reclaimed water
contamination resulting from the toxin's presence in laundry
detergents, and health risks from the chemical's presence in drinking
water. David Steinman is the author of Diet for a Poisoned Planet and
formerly represented the public interest on a committee at the National
Academy of Sciences.

Further Resources

Green Patriot Working Group/History of Study, Definition and Scientific References:

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

Environmental Working Group:

OCA/Myths and Facts about 1,4-dioxane:

Lawsuits from the CA Attorney General's office:

Clean Water Action:


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The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

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