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1,4-Dioxane is a really useful solvent in the lab, since it dissolves most organics and it’s also miscible with water while most ethers are not. A bad point about it, that it is highly hygroscopic, forms peroxides upon standing and it is really toxic. Exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.

If you would like to get out traces of water from it, than drop a large piece of sodium or potassium in it, add benzophenone and reflux the solution, till it turns deep blue, just as in this case: http://labphoto.tumblr.com/tagged/benzophenone

6 everyday products you didn’t know harm the environment

Facial cleansers with microbeads

Not only are these polyethylene beads potentially harmful to your skin if used too roughly, they’re also terrible for the environment, adding to plastic pollution in waterways. As a result, fish and other marine life may mistake these microbeads for food.

Shampoos and soaps with sulfates

SLES can be contaminated with traces of 1,4-Dioxane, which the EPA has labeled a probable human carcinogen. The chemical isn’t readily biodegradable, which means it can build up in the environment and stay there for a long time.


Researchers have estimated that up to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off into the oceans each year, and 10% of all coral reefs have been affected.

Deodorants with triclosan

Triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in many deodorants, soaps and cleaning products since 1972, now permeates the environment, found in places such as surface waters, soil and fish tissue.

Lip balm derived from petroleum

Ingredients derived from petroleum, such as petrolatum, could be contaminated with policyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS) – which are high in wildlife and environmental toxicity.

Moisturizers with palm oil

Oil palm plantations are guilty of deforestation, landscape fires and draining peatlands – all of which contribute to climate change. Toxic smoke from landscape fires kills 110,000 people in Southeast Asia every year, and the creation of new plantations can have negative social and economic impacts.

Evaporating a reaction mixture (right side) under reduced pressure. 

The distillate (left side) contains mainly methylene chloride and a little iodine what gives this nice pink color. On the other side the rest of the reaction mixture contains mainly dioxane and a little iodine what gives a dark brown color, since iodine dissolves in ethereal and oxygen containing solvent with a brown color. 

Distillation of dioxane at atmospheric pressure. 

In the flask at the left there was a mixture of antimony trifluoride (Swart’s reagent), some organic halogentated compounds and dioxane at the beginning, now it contains some fluorinated organics and a lot antimony fluoride/chloride what are highly corrosive slightly volatile solids what could even attack the glass.