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Risks of dioxane in drinking water

Water Toxins

Have you come across something called 1,4 dioxane? Have you ever wondered what dioxane is and what are its uses? Well, let us give you some important information that we think you should really know. 1,4-dioxane, an industrial chemical, contaminated the tap water of over seven million Americans and their water supply in 27 states. According to an EWG analysis, this industrial chemical has been detected at higher levels than what federal scientists consider to be a low lifetime risk for cancer.
The lowest lifetime risk for cancer is 1,4-dioxane, which should not cause more than one case of cancer for every million people who drink water each day during their lifetime.

Classified as ether, 1,4-dioxane is a colorless liquid with a slightly sweet odor. It is volatile at high temperatures and pressures and can form explosive mixtures if exposed to light or air for extended periods.
Most of the contamination of drinking water with 1,4-dioxane is due to leaks in underground storage tanks at hazardous waste sites or releases from manufacturing plants. It may also be found in numerous common personal care products, laundry detergents, and dishwashing soaps. However, it is difficult to trace the contamination back to the source, as manufacturers often fail to report releases of the chemical. Moreover, when the source is identified, there are very few controllers that can stop the contamination – there are very few standards that apply. Once it makes its way through drinking water springs, 1,4-dioxane tends to stay there – because it doesn’t decompose easily. It is fully miscible in water, highly mobile (meaning it moves), and highly resistant to microbial decomposition.

The Environmental Protection Agency has classified 1,4-dioxane as a “probably carcinogen” regardless of the different routes of exposure. There are no maximum levels of contaminants (MCL) for 1,4-dioxane in drinking water. However, it is included in the Contaminant Filter List (CCL) – an ever-growing list of drinking water contaminants known or predicted to occur in public water systems, that are (yet) not subject to EPA regulations. Although no applicable regulations are in place, 1,4-dioxane is one of the top 10 chemicals selected by the EPA for review under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Unfortunately, scrutiny and regulation are a never-ending catch-up game – that is, processes can take years without any guarantee of action.

Methods of exposure to 1,4-dioxin vary, but all can cause a wide range of effects on human health. Examples of exposure patterns include inhalation of fumes containing 1,4-dioxin, eating food or drinking water contaminated with water, or skin contact with this substance. For symptoms of exposure to substance 1.4- Short-term effects such as nausea, drowsiness, headache, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. And other long-term ones such as dermatitis and Eczema, dry and cracked skin, liver and kidney damage, and cancer

Getting rid of 1,4-dioxane from water is a challenge, but it is important to consider long-term solutions. These options include setting up a state and federal monitoring program to prevent chemicals from reaching the water supply, urging local energy companies to install appropriate technology, and using databases such as EWG’s Skin Deep and Guide to Healthy Cleaning to find products that do not contain 1 and 4 Dioxanes Avoid using products that contain chemicals ending in “-eth” and “-oxynol” because they may produce impurities in the manufacturing process.

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