The Synthetic Chemical 1,4-Dioxane is an Emerging Contaminant 

The Synthetic Chemical 1,4-Dioxane is an Emerging Contaminant

The synthetic industrial chemical 1,4-dioxane is an emerging contaminant that the U.S. EPA considers to be a likely human carcinogenic compound.  Found in groundwater at sites throughout the country, 1,4-dioxane presents a challenge to groundwater experts because it is highly mobile and does not readily biodegrade.   It has been found at more than 35 sites that are on the National Priorities List (NPL). Regulators believe it is likely present at many additional sites but has not yet been identified because samples were not analyzed specifically for 1,4-dioxane during previous field events.

So where does 1,4-dioxane come from?  According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), 1,4-dioxane is a by-product that is present in dyes, antifreeze, greases, paint strippers, and even some consumer products like cosmetics and shampoos. It is also used during the manufacture of pharmaceuticals as a purifying agent and as a stabilizer for chlorinated solvents.  As a groundwater contaminant, 1,4-dioxane is often identified at sites with a solvent release and at polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic manufacturing locations. 

To assist environmental scientists in identifying the presence of this compound, Merit Laboratories performs the analysis of 1,4-dioxane by the GC-MS purge and trap method with the deuterated 1,4-dioxane-D6 internal standard.  Analytical testing is performed referencing method SW-846 8260 Selective Ion Monitoring (SIM).  Merit’s analytical technique for 1,4-dioxane provides a low reporting limit (RL) for water and soil sample matrices:

  • 1,4-dioxane in Water: 1 ug/L (ppb)
  • 1,4-dioxane in Soil: 50 ug/kg (ppb)

Merit maintains NELAP certification for 1,4-dioxane for water and soil. The holding time for sample analysis is 14 days from the time of sample collection with proper preservation.