According to a new law that recently went into effect, several popular laundry detergents are illegal to sell in New York, but they're still on the shelf.

The New York State Department of Conservation has officially established a legal limit on the amount of a potentially cancer-causing chemical that can be present in many popular cleaning, personal care and cosmetic products.

The compound is called 1,4 Dioxane and it's created during the manufacturing of cleaners and chemicals. The process is a bit complicated but basically, this dangerous compound is created when chemicals are combined when many household products are being made. Laundry detergents tend to have the highest concentrations of 1,4 Dioxane because of the way they're manufactured.

A new law that just went into effect on New Year's Day establishes a maximum allowable concentration of 2 parts per million of 1,4 dioxane on household cleansing and personal care products. On December 31 of 2023, that limit will be lowered to 1ppm.


Unfortunately, it's difficult to know just how much 1,4 Dioxane is in any product because it doesn't appear on any ingredient lists. The only way to find out is by sending the products to a lab for testing. Recently Ingredients Matter sent several popular laundry detergents to an independent lab to test for levels of 1,4 Dioxane. The results of these tests show that several of these detergents actually contain illegal concentrations of the potentially dangerous chemical.

Out of the select detergents that were tested, four popular brands all came in way over the limit of 1,4 Dioxane. The highest concentration of the compound was found in Arm & Hammer Clean Burst. The tests showed 4.28ppm of 1,4 Dioxane which is over two times more than the new law allows.

Other brands that were found to be over the limit were Tide Original at 3.67ppm, Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear at 3.44ppm and Gain Original +Aroma Boost at 3.32ppm.


Surprisingly,  these brands are still currently available on New York shelves despite being over the legal limit. A search of Target's website shows Arm & Hammer, Clean Burst, Tide Original and Gain Original + Aroma Boost all in stock and available for purchase at its Poughkeepsie New York location. The new law does allow manufacturers the opportunity to apply for a one-year waiver from compliance as long as they show they're working to lower the levels of 1,4 Dioxane. It's unclear if these brands have been granted any extensions or not.

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It's unclear how stores and manufacturers will be held accountable for reporting the level of 1,4 Dioxane in the products being offered to New Yorkers. The DEC says they are currently in the process of creating a rule to implement the law.

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