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|SLS and SLFS (sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate) are skin and eye irritants that also acts as a foaming agent in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, dishwashing liquid... and just about anything that produces a foamy lather. The Materials Safety Data Sheet cautions to avoid body contact with SLS, it also puts infants and children (whose eye are developing at a more rapid rate) at risk for improper eye development when it's absorbed through the skin and accumulates in eye tissues. Because of residual levels in internal organs, it's questioned how safe our current rates of exposure are. "Debunkers", and companies who sell products containing these ingredients claim that the short exposure (shampoo and rinse) isn't enough for it to build up, and that by itself, in the dilution present within the product, the ingredient won't cause damage. This is basically true, however neither take into account recent reports (within the last five years), exposure due to the amount of products which contain SLS/SLFS and how often we use them, and the known chemical reaction with other ingredients commonly found in these products. While not carcinogens, both these substances, when mixed with other ingredients commonly found in shampoo bottles, may cause carcinogenic nitrates to form. Using it in moderation, and even in high amounts probably isn't going to kill you - but it's certainly not improving your health. The suggested safe percentage of SLS or SLFS to be used in products like shampoo and toothpaste isn't adhered to as often as it should be.
In its final report on the safety of sodium lauryl sulfate, the Journal of the American College of Toxicology notes that this ingredient has a "degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties." What's more, the journal adds, "high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration."
Interestingly, sodium lauryl sulfate "is used around the world in clinical studies as a skin irritant," notes the journal. The publication expressed additional concerns:
* Carcinogenic nitrosamines can form in the manufacturing of sodium lauryl sulfate or by its inter-reaction with other nitrogen-bearing ingredients within a formulation utilizing this ingredient.
* Other studies have indicated that sodium lauryl sulfate enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs and brain from skin contact. This poses the question whether it could be a serious potential health threat from its use in shampoos, cleansers, and toothpastes.
* Still other research has indicated sodium lauryl sulfate may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties.
* Although sodium lauryl sulfate is not carcinogenic in experimental studies, it has been shown that it causes severe epidermal changes in the area it is applied, indicating a need for tumor-enhancing assays.
* Additional studies have found that sodium lauryl sulfate is heavily deposited on the skin surface and in the hair follicles. Damage to the hair follicle could result from such deposition.
Links: Material Safety Data Sheet [mineral oil]
SLS and SLES
Sodium Laureth Sulfate, 'Chemical Cocktail'
Snopes.com piece on rumors that SLS causes cancer.
I also hope I didn't come off wrong. It isn't up to me to tell people what is going to kill them. I mean, I may feel this way about sls but then you could get on my back about the McDs I had a week ago