Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

29 Jun

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (or Sulfate) – Beware!

One of the most obnoxious chemicals found in almost all your household and personal care products, is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (also spelt Sulphate) (SLS) and it’s close cousins Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALS).

These are used as soaps and foaming agents. Watch this video to give you a better understanding:


The Origins of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate originates from plant material such as coconut or palm kernel oil. Because SLS is a coconut or palm kernel derivative, some products containing SLS are labelled and marketed as “all natural.”

However, what they don’t say, or maybe don’t know, is that the lauryl alcohol from such sources as coconut or palm kernel oil is then processed using sulphuric acid (where the sulphur comes from). In the final step, lauryl sulfate is reacted with sodium hydroxide to produce sodium lauryl sulfate. When lauryl sulfate is reacted with ammonia instead of sodium hydroxide it produces ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS).

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a strong detergent used in many beauty products including shampoo, soap and toothpaste. Also they have an industrial use in carwashes, engine degreasers, carpet and concrete floor cleaners. The same chemical is used in all applications.

Some people experience irritation from using products that contain SLS, according to the National Health Information Centre. According to the American College of Toxicology, in their 1983 report, SLS can denature the skin (destroy the skin cells and allow bacteria to enter the lower, more sensitive skin layers) SLS can damage hair follicles (and it’s in shampoos?) and SLS can halt the development of the eyes in young children. (After investigation, we came to the conclusion that it is responsible for my wife’s glaucoma.)

Canker Sores can be painful

Canker Sores can be painful

Toothpaste manufacturers put SLS in their products to generate the foaming effect when you brush your teeth. reports that some people develop canker sores after using toothpastes that contain SLS. Canker sores are small ulcers that appear inside your mouth, frequently on the gums. Canker sores do not form on the outside of your lips and mouth, only on the inside and they cause pain and discomfort when you eat. The Natural Health Information Centre reported that in 1982, eight employees at a hospital in Virginia became ill after the hospital’s carpet was cleaned using a product that listed SLS as the active ingredient. Most of the sick employees experienced respiratory illness, such as coughing, while many also complained of headaches, sore throats and nausea.

Perhaps most worryingly, because of its molecular weight, SLS is also absorbed into the body from skin application and especially under the tongue, as in toothpaste application, where the skin is so soft (heart medication is administered under the tongue, which is the quickest way to get the pill into the bloodstream).

Once it has been absorbed, it can accumulate in the major organs of your body, due to continual daily use. One of the main effects of SLS is to mimic the activity of the hormone “Oestrogen”. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.


Personal Care Products

SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) is a close cousin of SLS. SLES is milder than SLS. To become “mild” and “gentle” sodium laureth sulfate undergoes a manufacturing process called ethoxylation. The ethoxylation process uses ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Ethoxylation often causes contamination of surfactants and detergents with carcinogenic impurities such as 1,4-Dioxane.

It is found in more than 90% of “personal care” products including hand and body creams, depilatories, bubble baths, hair colour kits, shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, shaving cream, shower gel, facial cleansers, “baby wipes” and many other products.

1,4-Dioxane was used during the Vietnam war in the manufacture of “Agent Orange” which was aerial sprayed on the forests where the Viet Con (North Vietnamese Army) was lurking, to remove the leaves of the trees, so they could spot the enemy. A large number of American soldiers, who were exposed to this defoliation during the war, became cancer victims.

So, to conclude, you really need to avoid these chemicals wherever you can. I know it’s difficult, because they are in lots of products. To help you, I would strongly recommend some products my family and I have been using for over 12 years. Before we found these products, my wife would routinely throw up in the shower each morning and I suffered from headaches to the point where I carried headache pills around with me everywhere. After using these products, I was reminded about my headaches, only because I came across my supply of pills in my pocket one day and realised that I hadn’t suffered from a headache for about a month. I traced this back to when I changed my personal care products. Then, one day at work, I received a phone call from my wife. She HAD to call me because it was the first day she had NOT thrown up in the shower and she was extremely excited. These products WORK.

Bathroom Pack


Toxic Free Bathroom PackAs a basic start to changing to toxic-free Personal Care products, this is the toxic-free Bathroom Pack.

If you would like to order this pack, click on your country:

USA and Canada | Australia and New Zealand

UK and Europe: Name the product in the generated email.

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