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Mothers Challenge a Trace Contaminant in Tide

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Coming Clean Campaign page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

In their quest to rid cleaning products of toxic chemicals, consumer advocates have now set their sights on Tide, the best-selling laundry detergent.

Last fall, the environmental group Women's Voices for the Earth commissioned laboratory tests on 20 cleaning products and found what it described as problematic levels of 1,4 dioxane, a solvent, in Tide Free & Gentle (fragrance free) and Tide Original Scent, said Erin Switalksi, the group's executive director. Smaller amounts of the chemical were found in Bounce Free & Sensitive (fragrance free), dryer sheets that are used to reduce static.

Small amounts of 1,4 dioxane are formed during the manufacture of detergents, shampoos and certain drugs. The Environmental Protection Agency considers the chemical a probable carcinogen.

Ms. Switalski said her group had relayed its concerns to Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer, and that a group of advocacy organizations had done so as well, demanding action. "Tide Free and Gentle is marketed to moms as a healthier choice for babies," she said, adding, "Our perspective is that it doesn't need to be in there."

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