SLS & SLES

SCA endorses products with the Allergy Certified logo, that do not contain SLS & SLES. Sodium laureth sulfate, also called sodium lauryl ether sulfate or SLES, can be synthetic or naturally derived & is known to be a skin irritant that can be very irritating on the eyes. It is commonly used in oral care & personal hygiene products.

“Down-the-drain cleaning products release SLS into the environment via household wastewater systems. In the environment, >99% of SLS readily biodegrades into nontoxic components per the OECD 301 standard. Consumers may be exposed to SLS by using products that contain the ingredient. Exposure to SLS from household cleaning products depends on the frequency of household cleaning activities, which is reported as being 1–2 times per week on average. The intended application of detergents and cleaners should not result in direct contact with product ingredients; however, misuse of the product could potentially cause dermal (skin and ocular) or inhalation exposure. Oral exposure to cleaning products is unlikely but has occurred – mostly in children – because of accidental ingestion. With regular use of cleaning products, the delivered dose of SLS from dermal or inhalation exposure is expected to be low given the low volatility and dermal absorption rate of SLS. “ - NCBI

Why is it allowed to be used in toothpaste?

NCBI reports acute toxicity, “Ocular irritation. Like most chemicals, SLS can be irritating to the eye when delivered neat as a raw material or at high concentrations. At concentrations <0.1% (w/w), SLS is nonirritating to the eyes of laboratory animals. For this reason, it is imperative for consumer product manufacturers to test finished products for ocular irritation. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC;16 C.F.R. §1500) requires consumer product manufacturers to perform irritation tests that appropriately characterize the ocular toxicity of the product. Manufacturers are required to label the product with the appropriate warnings and first aid information according to the mandatory labeling requirements of the CPSC.” - NCBI

In Australia there are no law that requires cosmetics to be tested prior to sale, therefore SLS & SLES should not be used by brands that do not intend to test their product formulations for consumer health & safety.

CLASSIFICATION

Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) CAS No: 9004-82-4. Other Names: Sodium laureth sulfate; Genapol ZRO; Polyethylene glycol, sulfate, monododecyl ether, sodium salt; Polyoxyethylene, lauryl sulfate, sodium salt; Sodium dodecylpolyoxyethylene, sulfate. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). CAS No: 151-21-3

HOW IS IT USED?

  • Found in 90% of personal care products and cleaning agents including foaming products: such as soaps and shampoos as well as toothpaste and bubble bath: "Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium laurel sulfate are detergents used in everything from shampoo and body wash to baby soap — so if you’re experiencing chronic eye and/or skin irritation, you may want to try giving these products a break. “I have known these chemicals to cause rashes, blemishes, and eye irritation,” says O’Connor. “Not to mention, they are incredibly drying to your hair and skin.” - EverydayHealth.com

RESEARCH - WHAT EXPERTS SAY

  • Canada - suspected to be toxic or harmful

  • Europe - Banned.

Detergents and Soap: all types of detergents and soap can be extremely drying to the skin. Dry cracked skin can quickly lead to skin irritation or contact dermatitis.

  • "Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a common ingredient found in soaps and shampoos. ... And while it's not technically an allergen because it doesn't provoke a reaction from the immune system, SLS can cause contact dermatitis and aggravate eczema by weakening that oily barrier on our skin." And, "While SLS is useful for breaking up greasy foreign substances, it also breaks up the layer of oil that keeps our skin from drying out. And while it's not technically an allergen because it doesn't provoke a reaction from the immune system, SLS can cause contact dermatitis and aggravate eczema by weakening that oily barrier on our skin. This means that SLS can usher other allergic elements into your body. After repeated exposure to these elements, you may develop reactions to things you weren't allergic to before." - Top 5 allergens in soaps that cause dermatitis by Gallagher Finn, Health.HowStuffWorks.com

RESOURCES & RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:

Amina Kitching