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🔬 "What You Need To Know About 1,4-Dioxane"

Water Nerds

Photo by Antoine GIRET / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Analies Ross-Dyjak
Guest: Christina Liu | Science Team Head | Hydroviv
Category: 🔬 Research

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:12] “1,4-Dioxane is a synthetic chemical. […] It's manmade. It doesn't exist in nature. […] The reason it's used is as a taste solvent, or a stabilizer when making other chemicals. So they use it in a lot of things, they don't use it as its own thing. So you'll find it in things like paint strippers, dyes, antifreeze, the icing fluids, and also consumer products like deodorant, shampoos and cosmetics. And you won't see in the ingredients 1,4-Dioxane, but what you might see is that it's a byproduct or a low level contaminant in things like polyethylene glycol or PEG.”

[4:27] “There's two forms of 1,4-Dioxane. There's the airborne form, and then there's also the form that is in drinking water. […] 1,4-Dioxane poses a cancer risk when it's released into the air and people breathe […] according to the EPA. […] It's regulated as a hazardous air pollutant. […] But it doesn't stay around in the air, it degrades in the atmosphere. […] It's highly soluble and it's been found in groundwater. And because it's so soluble, it disperses in the water very, very quickly. And it's also very hard to remove.

[7:22] “If you're working directly with 1,4-Dioxane, there's definitely risks. […] But EPA found no unreasonable risks to the environment and consumers by standards for the general population, which is a really general statement. […] There is no maximum contaminant level at the federal level. Even though the US National toxicology program has indicated that the compound is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

[9:27] “Most of [1,4-Dioxane] ends up coming into the waters from leaking underground storage tanks at hazardous waste sites. […] And because this is such a […] highly soluble chemical, the soil doesn't hold on to it. It goes […] straight into the groundwater. And there's certain types of geology that also make it much more easy to spread out. And there's two parts of the country that apparently have had 1,4-Dioxane contamination that has gotten people to take notice. One is in Ann Arbor, Michigan. […] The people who are living in that part of Ann Arbor, they can't drink their well water. […] The other part of the country is actually in Long Island. And […] the geology is very similar. So […] glacial outwash aquifer […] lends itself to the plumes spreading out in every direction.”

[16:31] “There is a municipal level treatment that is currently being tested […] in Long Island, on it's called an advanced oxidation process. It has to do with irradiation with ultraviolet light, and then treating with hydrogen peroxide. And according to this study, it is up to 99% effective at removing 1,4-Dioxane. […] The downside, it's very expensive. It's not something that can easily be slotted into a system that's already there, it’s something they would have to add into it, which is why there are very few municipalities that are currently using it.”

[21:33] “At the federal level, there's not been regulation […] established. States have started doing it on their own. New York has actually been the first state to establish a maximum contaminant level for 1,4-Dioxane. It is two parts per billion and cosmetics and then at the end of 2023, it's going to go down to one part per billion. […] So […] if you're concerned, let your state legislators know.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple
🕰️ 23 min | 🗓️ 10/14/2021
✅ Time saved: 21 min

Additional Links:
Hydroviv Blog