Tide, the Detergent

The Environmental News Service reported on January 25, 2013, that Procter & Gamble, makers of Tide and Tide Free & Gentle detergents, has agreed in a California court to reduce the levels of the chemical 1,4 dioxane in its laundry products.  It came about as a result of the Oakland-based nonprofit organization, As You Sow, filed a lawsuit against P&G “for high levels of 1,4 dioxane in their detergents without a warning label in violation of Proposition 65, the California law governing toxic chemical exposure in consumer products.”


As reported by ENS, on January 22, a California Superior Court Judge signed the consent judgment, resolving As You Sow’s claims against P&G.  In the consent judgment, P&G agreed to reformulate its detergents to reduce levels of 1,4 dioxane to below 25 parts per million.

“Procter & Gamble will complete the reformulation process by September of 2013. The women’s groups say it is unlikely that old versions of the product will remain on the shelves long after September.  Although Procter & Gamble signed the agreement in California, the company is likely to distribute the new reformulated products nationwide.”

WHAT HAPPENED?  If you query, for example “reduce 1,4 dioxane,” on the P&G official web side, you get nothing–nada, nyet, nee, tsaa, ba!  No results found.  And below is more fraudulent activity regarding Tide right off their web site:


Tide has long been known for its best in class cleaning performance, but did you know that washing your clothes in cold water using specially formulated detergent Tide Coldwater can also help save you money and reduce energy consumption? Because of its energy saving benefits and careful consideration of the environment, Tide Coldwater is the first detergent ever receive the new Green Good Housekeeping Seal.

 1,4 dioxane, often called dioxane, is a solvent stabilizer classified as a known carcinogen in California under Proposition 65. The U.S. EPA calls the chemical a “probable carcinogen.”  It is a byproduct of ethoxylation, the process of adding ethylene oxide – a known breast carcinogen – to petroleum-based chemicals in order to make them less harsh.

The federal Agency for Toxic Substances classifies 1,4 dioxane as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen” and says, “Exposure to 1,4-dioxane occurs from breathing contaminated air, ingestion of contaminated food and drinking water, and dermal contact with products such as cosmetics that may contain small amounts of 1,4-dioxane.  Exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane can result in liver and kidney damage.”

Note that the Material Safety Data Sheet dated 3/02/11 (rev.) does not even list 1,4-dioxane as an ingredient for their brand Ultra Tide with a Touch of Downy High Efficiency (All scents).  Check out all the other MSDS’s; note what they do say and do not say.

Has P&G met its deadline?  No one seems to know.

And now the story about phosphates.  Here is P&G brochure on their endless search for what is safe for the consumer and the environment.

Erica Gies of The Guardian posted, on January 27, 2014, that P&G aims to cut phosphates from all its laundry soaps within two years.  “Global waterways.. are set to benefit,” she writes.

“The phosphate used in most powdered detergents is sodium triphosphate, or STPP, and it’s used to soften hard water. But when it’s introduced to waterways, phosphorous can cause environmental damage, including algae blooms, low oxygen levels and fish deaths.

“These issues came to public attention in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when lakes and rivers in the US turned bright green with algae. The situation drew first alarm, then activism, as scientists identified phosphates in laundry detergent as part of the problem. Public pressure mounted to remove them. In subsequent decades, various US states – and some countries – passed regulations to limit their use. The European Union followed suit in 2013.

“These regulations, plus better sewage treatment, have improved water quality in the US and many other developed countries.”

For Erica’s complete article, go to The Guardian.

How about the products that have been imported–were they ever phosphate free?

Spend some time exploring their “hidden” Science in a Box pages:  What is a detergent (glossary)


4 thoughts on “Tide, the Detergent”

    1. Thank you for sharing your web sites. I will be more than happy to feature them on MASKED CANARIES! Again, thank you. Education to bring about awareness is vital.

      A campaign will hopefully be launched again in May by human canaries on FB to advise retailers, doctors, etc. to stop using toxic scents on their premises. They are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They just need to be told what they are doing is WRONG!

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From a Yellow Canary of the 21st century, living in our disabling biosphere

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