Toxic Chemicals to Avoid – in your cosmetics and cleaning products.


SODIUM LAURYL/LAURETH SULPHATE. SLS may go by over 150 different names, but many products that are SLS-free will proudly state that on the packaging – loud and clear, and if they’re certified organic, you know it’s SLS-free.


SLS is an emulsifier and foaming agent commonly used in cosmetic products and industrial cleaners, (think degreaser for garage floors). SLS is present in most body washes, soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and laundry detergent. It’s known to cause dry skin, itchy scalp, stinging eyes, mouth ulcers, dermatitis, and that just the tip of it. The ‘Journal of the American College of Toxicology’ says that it has ‘a degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties’. The Journal adds that ‘high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration’.

10 reason to Avoid SLS.

1. A known skin irritant. If you have dandruff, dry skin, dermatitis, canker sores, or other irritated tissues or skin, it could be due to SLS.
2. It pollutes our groundwater. It is toxic to fish and other aquatic animals and has the potential for bioaccumulation (meaning it accumulates in the bodies of the fish.) It also is undetected in many municipal water filters, getting into the tap water that you drink.
3. It emits toxic fumes when heated. Toxic Sodium Oxides and Sulfur Oxides are released when SLS is heated. Makes a hot shower with an SLS shampoo (and body wash, toothpaste, cleanser…) pretty scary.
4. It has corrosive properties. According to the American College of Toxicity, this includes corrosion of the fats and protiens that make up skin and muscle. SLS can be found in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and car wash soaps.
5. Long-term permeation of the body’s tissues. A study from the University of Georgia Medicine showed that SLS had the power to permeate the eyes, brain, heart, and liver.
6. It’s an eye irritant. It was shown to cause cataracts in adults, and is proven to inhibit the proper formation of eyes in small children.
7. Nitrate and other solvent contamination. Toxic solvents, including carcinogenic nitrates are used in the manufacturing of SLS, traces of which can remain in the product.
8. Manufacturing process is highly polluting, emitting cancer-causing volatile organic compounds, sulfur compounds, and air particulates.
9. It helps other chemicals get into your body. SLS is a penetration enhancer, meaning that its molecules are so small they’re able to cross the membranes of your body’s cells. Once cells are compromised, they become more vulnerable to other toxic chemicals that may be with the SLS.
10. It is actually a pesticide and herbicide. It is commonly used to kill plants and insects. Makers of SLS recently petitioned to have SLS listed as an approved pesticide for organic farming. The application was denied because of its polluting properties and environmental damage.

Products commonly found to contain Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate – Soap, Shampoo, Bubble-bath, Tooth paste, Washing-up liquid / dish soap, Laundry detergent, Childrens soaps / shampoos, Stain Remover, Carpet Cleaner, Fabric glue, Body wash, Shave cream, Mascara, Mouthwash, Skin cleanser, Moisturiser, Sun screen.


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