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Sodium Lauryl Sulfate…more than Suds in your Shampoo

Filed Under: Personal Care at 4:43 pm | By: Brandi Spade, Senior Editor
toothpaste.jpgIf it makes suds or foam, most likely it contains some form of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Toothpaste, shampoo, soap and bubble bath are just a few of the commonly used products that contain this substance. So do you know what’s in your shampoo?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is registered as a pesticide product in flea and tick shampoo, yet it is also contained at a lower dosage in everyday products for humans. SLS also jumps out of a list of ingredients for common edible snacks. Marshmallows anyone? The concern for this common GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe – FDA) product goes beyond its role as a pesticide. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) points out that this product may have harmful impurities and its work as a penetration enhancer gives way for more toxic chemicals to seep further into the skin and enter the bloodstream. SLS can often lead to many skin or eye irritations. EWG also sites an article from the London Independent (which lists several major brands that market products containing potentially harmful toxins) that relates to their own studies on toxic products.

The EPA and FDA both declare SLS containing products safe for humans at the low doses found in shampoo and toothpaste, but conscious consumer beware. Many products can now be found minus the sodium lauryl sulfate, and if skipping the bubbles means also skipping the possible side effects, it’s worth looking into. Wondering what other ingredients may be harmful to you? Pick up Bill Statham’s What’s in Your Food?, which is a handy pocket guide listing many of the popular ingredients found in food and cosmetics, while also indexing which ones may be potentially harmful or healthful.

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