DIRTY DOZEN EXPLORATION: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)?
This is a chemical that creates bubbles and foam. It is a common ingredient in shampoos, hand soaps, body washes, facial cleansers, dish soaps, and detergents. This chemical is considered minimally toxic by itself. However, it is often contaminated in manufacturing with two chemicals called ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. These both can cause harm to the human body and the natural environment. It’s possible for these two chemicals to be taken out with an extra process called vacuum stripping, but there’s no way to tell if a product has gone through that. SLS can also irritate skin and eyes in some users. How to avoid? Look for cleansers & soaps that do not include this foaming agent.
SLS can cause eye and skin irritation, as well as possible organ chemistry disruptions. Many of its effects on the human body and on Mother Nature remain unknown. It's important to limit the chemicals that babies and children are exposed to. SLS is especially related to children because of its use in kids shampoos and bubble baths that manufacturers want to be sure are very bubbly. Stick to clean shampoos and bubble baths for you and your kids!
What can you do to avoid exposure to SLS?
- Look for "NO SLS" or "NO SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE" labels
- Stick to brands that use natural foaming agents or no foaming agents
- Remember that soaps and cleansers do not need to foam to be effective
- Use a trustworthy source to research more (we love EWG or the David Suzuki Foundation)
We want you to be safe and happy with your product choices! It’s possible to be clean and healthy without harmful chemicals.