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  • Writer's pictureLori-Anne Victoria

Sodium Laurel Sulfate and aliases

SLS and SLF Toxicity

A common ingredient in personal care products, sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, is an additive that allows cleansing products to foam. According to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, SLS is a "moderate hazard" that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption. although SLS is derived from coconuts, it is contaminated with a toxic byproduct during the manufacturing process.




The Cosmetic Ingredient Review reports that SLS, SLES and ALS are irritants at concentrations of 2 percent or greater, and recommends that cosmetic products should not contain concentrations greater than 1 percent. Undiluted SLS can cause skin and eye irritation, as well as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, etc

SLS and SLES are often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process that is "possibly carcinogenic to humans" and may also cause negatives effects in the kidneys, liver and central nervous system, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Organ system toxicity, in animal studies [10].

It's highly irritant to skin, eyes, respiratory system if inhaled [11].

Very toxic if swallowed [12] probable oral lethal dose 0.5-5 g/kg [13].

If you are concerned about the possible effects of SLS accumulation, look for shampoos, toothpastes and other personal care products marked "SLS free." Although you should also be aware the chemical companies change the names of these products to avoid detection


Sodium lauryl sulfate has many other names such as sodium monolauryl sulfate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium monolauryl sulfate, sodium dodecane sulfate, lauryl alcohol, hydrogen sulfate - sodium salt, n-lauryl sulfate sodium and finally sulfuric acid monolauryl ester sodium salt!

This is a widely used ingredient in household and industrial items [1]. It is formed by combining sulfonic acid and dodecanol in a process known as esterification. This product is then neutralised with sodium carbonate to give sodium lauryl sulfate [2].



Shampoos contain SLS. Its the main component of most soap-based products, and if you were to look in your bathroom you're guaranteed to find at least one product containing it, for example, your shampoo or toothpaste [2]. In industry it will be found in engine degreasers or carpet cleaners, for example. It's inexpensive and an excellent foaming agent. It has a high pH as it is an alkali substance and has the appearance of a white powder.

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