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Today's Chemical:

Sodium cocoyl isethionate

EWG Risk Score:

1 (Should be higher!)

What is it?

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a surfactant/detergent used as a cleansing agent and to impart lather in shampoos, body washes, facial care, and toothpastes.

What are its risks?

  • Sodium cocoyl isethionate can pose skin irritation depending on the individual's suseptibility and concentration used.  However, it is considered to be, generally, a milder option. (Source)
  • Sodium cocoyl isethionate is created by combining fatty acids with isethionic acid. Isethionic acid is created by combining sodium bisulfite in an aqueous solution and ethylene oxide.  Ethylene oxide is a known carcinogen. Traces of ethylene oxide can remain in the product, along with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane. (Source

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Reader Comments (3)

Interesting that the same source you used to claim that this ingredient is irritating to the skin actually lists a few studies that says it is really gentle:

Secondly, i am not sure where you are getting your information but this ingredient is a sodium salt derived from coconut oil. You can't find any surfactant that is milder or safer than this one.

Fri, March 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

@Faith--yep--that's why I said it's considered to be a gentler option when it comes to skin.

It is a sodium salt derived from coconut oil, but ethylene oxide (a known carcinogen) is used in the processing. I link to my source directly in the article.

Tue, April 5, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

EWG lists it a 1..

Sat, December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGeralt

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