What New York’s Laundry Detergent Ban Means for Some Popular Brands

Updated: Apr. 19, 2024

Many commercially available detergents were found to contain a probable human carcinogen.

The question of just how safe laundry detergents are has been hotly debated over the past few years. For instance, some say laundry pods are bad for the environment. Some even suggest detergents are one way clothing could be killing you. But the recent move by the state of New York escalates those concerns into law.

It’s now illegal to sell certain popular laundry detergent brands in the state of New York. The laundry detergent ban went into effect at the end of 2022. In the law, the New York State Department of Conservation created a legal limit on how much of a potential carcinogen called 1,4-Dioxane can be present in detergent.

What Carcinogen Caused the Laundry Detergent Ban?

Simply put, 1,4-Dioxane is another thing in your home that could cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified 1,4-Dioxane as a probable human carcinogen. In recent years, 1,4-Dioxane has been detected in groundwater and drinking water supplies near chemical plants and waste sites, but because of manufacturing with ethoxylated ingredients, some household cleaning products also contain varying amounts of 1,4-Dioxane. It’s another in a growing list of household products with potential links to cancer.

Under new state guidelines, any household cleaning or personal care products that have more than two parts per million (PPM) of 1,4-Dioxane is now banned. An even stricter limit of 1 ppm for 1,4-Dioxane in household cleaning and personal care products will take effect at the end of 2023.

What Popular Detergent Brands Contain 1,4-Dioxane?

According to a 2020 study conducted by chemical testing lab Bureau Veritas, commissioned by the company Ingredients Matter 1,4-Dioxane was detected in many popular laundry detergents. Those ranged from conventional brands like Tide and All to plant-based brands like Mrs. Meyers. Here’s the full list of brands that all contained more than 3 PPM of 1,4-Dioxane, putting them all over New York’s legal limit of 2 PPM:

  • Arm & Hammer Clean Burst
  • Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear

*Editor’s note: We originally stated that Tide Original and Gain Original + Aroma Boost were also banned, however, these brands recently reformulated their products to a lower concentration limit of <1 ppm ahead of the statutory deadline of the new NYSDEC requirements.