EWG Risk Score:
What is it:
Sorbitan is a mild surfactant and emulsifier made from sorbitol and olive oil.
What are its risks:
Sorbitan olivate is a relativeley new chemical on the market, so there is not much published data on the ingredient. According to MSDS sheets, however, it is over 90% biodegradeable, defined as non-toxic and non-irritant.
I have worked with this ingredient before and it actually is a synthetic that I would consider to be safe. I would consider this to be a better alternative to "vegetable emulsifying wax," which is full of ethoxylated compounds (you can read more about that here.)