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Saturday
May102014

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Today's Chemical:

UPDATED: 5/10/14

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)



EWG Risk Score:

3

What is it:
A widely used detergent and surfactant.  It can be derived from coconut oil or petroleum by-products.  It is commonly used as an industrial degreaser.

Why is it a risk?
 

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate is an ethoxylated compound. When it's created, it's processed with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. Traces of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane (another known carcinogen) can be found in the detergent. (Source)
  • Sodium laureth sulfate is a known eye and skin irritant. (Source)
  • SLES is found to be a penetration enhancer (Source)

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Reader Comments (6)

So where on earth do you get your toothpaste! I have been to every store in Eau Claire that sells toothpaste - and every one has SLS (albeit the last ingredient) in their formulas... help!

Tue, March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

Look for Weleda toothpaste--they're SLS free. If you can't find them in a local store, you can probably get a good deal on it at www.iherb.com

Tue, March 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

I was trying to find some information on "How to read the ingredient label of cosmetics", and came by this site:

http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/HBI/20

Just to try it out, I looked up "Sodium Laureth Sulfate", and they claim it's all safe for cosmetics.

Then I went back to your page to look it up, and found the information above.

How confusing is this!? Also, when I look the same chemical up on the site of the Norwegian FDA, they of course claim SLS to be safe.

So who are these "Cosmeticsinfo.org", and where can we find good sites as for real information about the chemicals?

Well, I know your site is a good one, but when e.g. writing an article I know that people are going to confront me with the facts from the FDA and similar sites.

Fri, January 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

Hello Steph!

So I looked up SLES: http://www.livestrong.com/article/460329-are-products-with-sodium-laureth-sulfate-safe-to-use/

And I'm a bit confused. Of course, it is better to avoid SLES, but it looks like tests don't prove it to be that bad. I find DMDM Hydantoin to be much worse as its a proven irritant. Can you agree with me? Or what's your opinion?

I heard many people complaining on SLES, but is it really THAT BAD?
It doesn't irritate my skin and my only concern would be carcinogenic aspects of it... as they might appear to be bad in a long-term approach.

Fri, August 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOla

i tried to stay away from SLES's and SLS's and the first time i used coconut oil on my hair nothing was strong enough to remove it when i was washing it out appart from a shampoo containing SLES. i even tried a baking soda and water wash and lemon juice and both didnt work.

can anyone give any suggestions natural suggestions?

thank you

Wed, August 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeee

So where do I buy my hand soap ? I was buying method until I saw they had methylsothiazolinone listed in the ingredients . My husband ask me , " so what do we buy then ?!
Of course the best thing is to make your own but being a mother of three little ones can't seem to find the time for that now.
Any websites you suggest ?

Thu, October 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterYudie

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