Friday, September 23, 2011

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

I felt it was necessary to address this issue since someone raised the issue in a comment on the blog post, Laundry Detergents - Clean House, Clean Planet (Feb 23, 2009).   There is controversy regarding the use of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds.  As with most things in "natural product commercialism", there is no clear cut determination as to who is right or wrong on this.

According to Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): If improperly formulated, SLS can irritate skin, but our superb formula uses coco-betaine and lauryl glucoside to counter this.  To read the entire statement, click the following link, http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/SSLI1G/SalSudsLiquidCleaner.htm
Of course, if you do a quick google search, you will see some pretty scary stuff by the National Health Information Centre on the effects of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).  A report is cited from the Journal Of The American College Of Toxicology in 1983 showing levels of .5% could cause irritation and levels over 10-30% caused skin corrosion and severe irritation.

Further searching on google will bring you to a site called Healthy Communications.com.  On this site, they cite a study (although I am not seeing the link to the study) where the University of Georgia found that SLS in the eyes, brain, heart, and liver showed long term retention in the tissues.   Even though I see this research repeated on website after website, I see no actual link to the study.  It may be there but I have not found it yet.  If you know of the link, please contact me and I will add it here.  I do get concerned though when we freely quote and requote research without knowing if it is actually true.


Further google searching will bring up snopes which has some balanced information from what I can see.  According to Snopes.com, some shampoos in the 1970's were found to contain small amounts of nitrosamines.  According to Snopes, nitrosamines are carcinogenic.  Apparently Ethanolamine Lauryl Sulfates were determined to be the source of nitrosamines.  According to Snopes, there is a difference between Ethanolamine Lauryl Sulfates and SLS.  In addition, it is stated that OSHA, NTP (National Toxicology Program) and IARC (International Agency For Research On Cancer) have all stated that SLS is non-carcinogenic.  Please note that I do not inherently trust what these government agencies state.

I could probably find sources and articles all day long that state it is safe or toxic.  Of course, the one thing holds true is that people write articles based upon other articles without citing sources or giving much credible information.  In this day and age, we are more concerned it seems, with information that is more tabloid, than full of facts.  I honestly can not say if what any of these sources are saying is true.  I have no way to quantitatively and objectively research or test these things.

Comments such as the one left on a previous post, shows bias more than it shines truth or facts that help people make informed decisions.  When making such statements, please offer specific facts that can be read, critiqued and researched.  Otherwise, it is the continuation of regurgitated information being spread from website to website.

It is very possible that there is truth to sodium lauryl sulfate being extremely dangerous.  You may want to use caution and consider an alternative or consider how you would use these products.  At the moment, I use Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds for cleaning.  It appears that there are other products which may be safer to use for hand washing, shampoos and other personal uses.  If you are the least bit concerned, do what you feel is best for you and the environment.  Most likely, I will err on the side of caution as well.

Please note, that I am not qualified to determine what is right and proper for you to use.  This is a determination that you must make after careful study.  I only present this as my opinion and as information but it is not to be taken as fact.  Do not make medical decisions based upon this information.  Only you and your healthy care provider can obtain the right information for your life.  Please note that I make no money off the sale of Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds or any other of his products.  These are just products that I personally use.

In the sources I have linked to throughout this blog post, there are additional links to information that you can read and study.  Please do so to become more informed.

Related Blog Posts

Other Sources Of Information:
1)  Dr. Bronner Sal Suds  (Website)
2)  Snopes.com Link on Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
3)  Effects of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - National Health Information Centre

Book Resources
1)  Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan


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