Used in beauty and oral care products to create suds and foam, sodium lauryl sulfate can cause immune system damage and allergic reactions, as well as skin, eye and mouth irritation; its manufacturing results in the release of carcinogenic chemicals.
The Journal of the American College of Toxicology determined that the ingredient has a “degenerative effect on cell membranes” and that even at low levels of concentration, skin penetration occurs. Studies have found that topical application of SLS can lead to traces of the stuff in internal organs.
And it doesn’t just stop at your skin: Those suds wash down the drain, into the water system and up the food chain. That means that fish you’re eating could contain the same SLS that you (or your neighbor) shampooed with. Yum.
Look for natural surfactants—they suds up great, and don’t harm the environment.
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