Sodium Laureth (Lauryl) Sulfate

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You Have the Right to Know
Under Section 5194, Title 8, California Adm Code:
The Properties and Potential Hazards of Materials to which You may be Exposed.

Sodium laureth sulfate - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc.). It is an inexpensive and very effective foamer.

Its chemical formula is CH3(CH2)10CH2(OCH2CH2)2OSO3Na. Sometimes the number represented by "n" is specified in the name, as laureth-n sulfate (unsubscripted), for example laureth-2 sulfate. The product of commerce is heterogeneous, both in the length of the alkyl chain (12 being the mode of the number of carbon atoms), and in the number of ethoxyl groups, where n is the mean. n=3 is a common article of commerce.

Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS; also known as sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) are commonly used alternatives to SLES in consumer products.

There is a popularly persistent but unproven assertion that SLES is carcinogenic (see Snopes in external links).

    In the mid 80's, The Doctor once had his clothes washing machine fixed by a repairman who said something interesting about the 'sudsing' agent in detergents:  "It's not necessary", he said, "The sudsing agent has NO cleansing value.  It simply bubbles to give the end user and indicator that 'the soap is working'... a feeling of 'security' in the detergent's value.  Other than that the bubbles have no value.  It clogs the pipes with 'a skin' that builds up over time and it creates that 'everlasting foam' that we see washing upon lake shores, ocean surfs, etcetera."  I asked him to point out the ingredient on the detergent box.  The repairman said it wasn't stated on the ingredients-and doesn't have to be since there are no FDA regulations regarding clothes detergents, "But get me a bottle of your shampoo and maybe I can point it out."  Sure enough, he pointed it out.

    The Doctor thought that sodium laureth sulfate was just another chemical inconvenience for about 10 years until a co-worker brought up this further information:

Check the ingredients listed on your shampoo bottle and see if they have a substance by the name of Sodium Laureth (Lauryl) Sulfate, or simply SLS.  This substance is found in most shampoos and the manufacturers use it because it produces a lot of foam and it is cheap.  BUT the fact is that SLS is used to scrub garage floors, and it is very strong.

It is also proven that it can cause cancer in the long run, and this is no joke.  I went home and checked my shampoo {Vidal Sasoon}; it doesn't contain it.  However, others such as Vo5, Palmolive, Paul Mitchell, the new Hemp Shampoo.. contains this substance.

The first ingredient listed (which means it is the single most prevalent ingredient) in Clairol's Herbal Essences is Sodium Laureth Sulfate.  So I called one company and I told them their product contains a substance that will cause people to have cancer.  They said, "Yeah, we knew about it, but there is nothing we can do about it because we need that substance to produce foam."  Colgate toothpaste also contains the same substance to produce the 'bubbles' (as if the fluoride isn't enough!)  They said they are going to send me some information.

   ( The ACID MANTLE of the skin helps protect its surface from irritants and bacteria.  Some skin diseases destroy the acidity of certain areas, impairing the self-sterilizing ability of the skin, making it vulnerable to bacterial attack.  Normal intact skin is usually impermeable to water, carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Gases and many volatile substances will pass through the skin.  The numerous follicles serve as channels for absorption.  Substances passing through normal skin are soluable in fat and water.  This would include SLS-and since the largest pores in the skin are in the scalp this would tend to be the region of greatest absorption!)

Research has shown that in the 1980's, the chance of getting cancer is 1 out of 8000, and now, in the 1990's, the chances os getting cancer is 1 out of 3, which is very serious (this means that medical political machine has become more and more incompetent over time-or more malicious, maligned towards a strong, independent people who are free thinking upon whom the United States of America are based.  Unfortunately, the latter is more likely).

So I hope that you will take this seriously and pass this on to all the people you know, and hopefully, we can stop giving ourselves the cancer "virus".  This is serious.  After you have read this, pass it on to as many people as possible.  this is not a chain letter, but it concerns our health.

Michelle Hailey
Executive Secretary
University of Pennsylvania-Health System
Office of Legal Affairs
(215) 662-2541

    Be careful even when shopping at a one of those 'holistic' grocery stores.  This author had a look at "Nature's Gate" shampoos.  It was on discount.  I thought that it was an unusually large amount for the price compared to the other shampoos.  I had a look at the ingredients and - sure enough - there was the sodium laureth sulfate.  There are shampoos/conditioners out there with no SLS and some with the SLS "derived from coconut" much like MSG derived from papaya.  Organic derivations from such sources are usually safer than artificially manufactured substitutions. 

    Ammonium laureth sulfate has been substituted in it's place in different shampoos, but this time as a dangerously free radical, ammonium salt.

    If you can't find any holistic/vitamin stores in your area with a safer solution, there's always 'Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap' which can be found at most stores and can be universally applied all over the body.  Be Well.


Sodium Lauryl Sulphate facts:

As a concerned and aware consumer, do you really have anything to worry about as far as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is concerned? 

It would appear that we have two quite differing views on the safety of using and exposing the body to constant low levels of toxic chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). I feel it is only fair we look at the facts as they are reported by the chemical industry and other concerned individuals in regard to SLS.

I would like to quote word for word as reported in the book "Health Wars" written by investigative medical journalist Phillip Day: You make up your own mind about the wisdom of using Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) in your shampoo and children's bubble bath!

"Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a very harsh detergent found in almost all shampoos and more than a few toothpastes. Pick up a cross section of these products next time you visit the supermarket and you will find Sodium Lauryl Sulphate SLS or Sodium Lauryth Sulphate (SLES) in pride of place under the ingredients label.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate started its career as an industrial degreasant and garage floor cleaner. When applied to human skin it has the effect of stripping off the oil layer and then irritating and eroding the skin, leaving it rough and pitted.

Studies on SLS have shown that:" (Judi Vance, Beauty To Die For, Promotion Publishing, 1998)

  1. "Shampoos with SLS could retard healing and keep children's eyes from developing properly. Children under six years old are especially vulnerable to improper eye development. (Summary of Report of Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. conference."

  2. "Sodium Lauryl Sulphate can cause cataracts in adults and delays the healing of wounds in the surface of the cornea."

  3. "Sodium Lauryl Sulphate has a low molecular weight and so is easily absorbed by the body. It builds up in the heart, liver and brain and can cause major problems in these areas."

  4. "Sodium Lauryl Sulphate causes skin to flake and to separate and causes roughness on the skin."

  5. "Sodium Lauryl Sulphate causes dysfunction of the biological systems of the skin."

  6. "Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is such a caustic cleanser that it actually corrodes the hair follicle and impairs the ability to grow hair."

  7. "Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is routinely used in clinical studies deliberately to irritate the skin so that the effects of other substances can be tested." (Study cited by the Wall St Journal, 1st November 1998)

Ethoxylation: Ethoxylation is the process that makes degreasing agents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) less abrasive and gives them enhanced foaming properties. When SLS is ethoxylated, it forms Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), a compound used in many shampoos, toothpastes, bath gels, bubble baths, and industrial degreasants. The problem is, the extremely harmful compound 1,4-dioxane may be created during the ethoxylation process, contaminating the product. 1,4-dioxane was one of the principal components of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, used to great effect by the Americans during the Vietnam War to strip off the jungle canopy to reveal their enemy. 1,4-dioxane is a hormonal disrupter believed to be the chief agent implicated in the host of cancers suffered by Vietnam military personnel after the war. It is also an oestrogen mimic thought to increase the chances of breast cancer and endometrial cancer, stress related illnesses and lower sperm counts.

Dr Samuel Epstein (Author and research Scientist) reports: "The best way to protect yourself is to recognise ingredients most likely to be contaminated with the1,4-dioxane. These include ingredients with the prefix word, or syllable PEG, Polyethylene, Polyethylene Glycol, Polyoxyethylene, eth (as in sodium laureth sulphate) or oxynol. Both polysorbate 60 and polysorbate 80 may also be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane.(Epstein, Dr Samuel, Safe Shoppers Bible, P.190-191)   Further Reading Article by Michael V Brooking and Naheed Zaman    

Toxic Chemical FREE! An Holistic Approach to Health

MANUFACTURERS MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET ON SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE

Ingredients: SULPHURIC ACID, MONODODECYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT; (SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE) Ingredient Sequence Number: 01

Unusual Fire And Explosion Hazards: EMITS TOXIC FUMES ON THERMAL DECOMPOSITION

Health Hazard Data

Route Of Entry - Inhalation: YES

Route Of Entry - Skin: YES

Route Of Entry - Ingestion: YES

Health Hazard Acute And Chronic:

ACUTE: CAUSES MILD IRRITATION ON CONTACT WITH SKIN, EYES OR MUCOUS MEMBRANES. SKIN CONTACT COULD CAUSE IRRITATION OR ALLERGIC REACTION. MODERATELY TOXIC BY INGESTION.

CHRONIC: TESTS ON LAB ANIMALS INDICATE MATERIAL MAY CAUSE MUTAGENIC EFFECTS 

Emergency/First Aid Procedure:

EYES: FLUSH THOROUGHLY WITH WATER FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES

SKIN:WASH THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP & WATER.

INHALATION:REMOVE TO FRESH AIR.

INGESTION:IF STILL CONSCIOUS, INDUCE VOMITING.

GET MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR ALL CASES OF EXPOSURE

Precautions for Safe Handling and Use 

KEEP CONTAINER CLOSED. STORE AT CONTROLLED ROOM TEMPERATURE. DO NOT BREATHE DUST. DO NOT GET IN EYES, ON SKIN, ON CLOTHING. DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY.

Respiratory Protection: NIOSH/MSHA APPROVED RESPIRATOR APPROPRIATE FOR EXPOSURE OF CONCERN (FP N)

Ventilation:MATERIAL SHOULD BE HANDLED OR TRANSFERRED ONLY IN AN APPROVED FUME HOOD OR W/ADEQUATE VENTILATION.

Protective Gloves: NEOPRENE, PVC OR EQUIVALENT GLOVES.

Eye Protection: ANSI APPROVED CHEMICAL WORKERS GOGGLES (FP N).

Other Protective Equipment: EYE WASH & SAFETY EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE READILY AVAILABLE.

Work Hygienic Practices:WASH THOROUGHLY AFTER HANDLING.

Supplementary Safety & Health Data: NONE SPECIFIED BY MANUFACTURER.

Label Required: YES

Technical Review Date: 17MAY95

Label Date: 17MAY95

Label Status: M

Common Name:SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE, DX2495

Chronic Hazard: YES

Signal Word:WARNING!

Acute Health Hazard: Moderate

Contact Hazard: Moderate

Fire Hazard: None

Reactivity Hazard: None

Special Hazard Precautions:

ACUTE: CAUSES MILD IRRITATION ON CONTACT WITH SKIN, EYES OR MUCOUS MEMBRANES.  SKIN CONTACT COULD CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTION.

MODERATELY TOXIC BY INGESTION.

CHRONIC: TESTS ON LAB ANIMALS INDICATE MATERIAL MAY CAUSE MUTAGENIC EFFECTS.

Protect Eye: YES

Protect Skin: YES

Protect Respiratory: YES

Potential Health Effects: 

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Overexposure: May cause skin irritation. May cause burns to eyes.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic overexposure: Prolonged skin contact my cause dermatitis and skin sensitization. May cause eye burns.

Medical Conditions Generally Aggravated by Exposure:Sensitive skin.

Ingestion: Relative to other materials, as single dose of this product is rarely toxic by ingestion. Irritation of the mouth, pharynx, oesophagus and stomach can develop following ingestion.

Safe Products

More Technical information on SLS

{A Sorry, Sorry Discovery of disinformation on the web (01-05-2006):}

{OK. I decided to have a look at "Snopes" of which Wikipedia seems to think is an authority of information. I discovered that Snopes had lifted some of the comments and assertions from this page. The author at Snopes decided that SLS MUST be safe because candy manufacturers use it:}

Sodium lauryl sulfate is even found in food products such as candy. For example, it's an ingredient in Candy Bubbles, described as "Bubbles you can eat!" Although the label warns that the product should not be eaten outright, Candy Bubbles are touted as a fat-free, calorie-free edible product. Hardly something the Food and Drug Administration would allow to remain on the market if one of its ingredients were known to cause cancer.

{The FDA has already allowed a plethora of prescription drugs into the market that kills 100's of thousands of people every year. What's a little SLS in comparison? Do you want more bad science? "Snopthor" (snopes author) seems to refer to the Material Safety and Data Sheet for SLS, but some how, the "MSDS FAQs" links go to ilpi.com (a corporate training website?). Why not link to a white paper on SLS like the NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS NOTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT SCHEME or simply a MSDS for SLS? Because if Mr. Snopthor did, his readers would quickly discover that the reading at snopes.com is a dangerous lie. In fact here's a little corporate hyperbole that I'm sure Mr. Snopthor learned from his upper-class friends in San Fernando Valley:}

There's nothing like an unfounded medical scare to get those cash registers ringing, and you can altruistically claim you have your customers' best interests at heart while you fleece them.

{So, Mr. Snopthor, what's stopping the cash registers from ringing at the big allopathic corporations after your contentious parable? The multi-national allopathic corporations are bigger and more powerful than any of the life-positive, holistic manufacturers; they can only gain more from your sense of "logic." Can you look at the chronic ailment and death statistics and altruistically claim that no consumer has ever been hurt by careless, life-negative industry practices? Where is your heart Mr. Snopthor?}

Do YOU have SLS poisoning? Find out now and get retribution from the manufacturer!
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