Is SLS in Soap as bad as it seems?

SLS in soap is extremely common. SLS is short for sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant added to soaps, shampoos and cleaning products. SLS is responsible for releasing dirt and oil from surfaces and for the big bubbles and suds that we all know and love. SLS has been used since the 1930s and has been declared safe by the FDA, so what is all the hype about?

Is SLS in soap a carcinogen?

One of the claims that have caused an uproar about SLS is that it is a cancer-causing agent. However, this claim has largely been deemed unfounded. The truth of the matter is SLS is not listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC); U.S. National Toxicology Program; California Proposition 65 list of carcinogens; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the European Union (source). I can see where you might be skeptical but really, have you ever looked at the California Proposition 65 list of carcinogens? Nearly everything we touch, breathe, eat and drink on a daily basis is he there, so if SLS isn’t, I am pretty confident that SLS is not a carcinogen.

The Effect Of SLS On The Environment

SLS in soap damaging marine life

Whether you are showering, brushing your teeth, or washing your face the end result is the same, water and suds go down the drain. For some that water will eventually end up filtered into the groundwater for others, it will end up in the ocean, either way, the SLS in the cleansing product you are using ends up in the environment. So we have to ask ourselves, what is the effect on plant and animal life?

SLS is, in fact, toxic to marine life. However, according to a study in Environmental Health Insight, SLS biodegrades in 96 hours. It takes much longer than that for filtered waster water to reach the ocean, essentially meaning there is no effect on ocean life.

Why stay away from SLS in soap?

Using soaps and cleaning products is a personal choice. If SLS doesn’t cause cancer then why stay away from it? The fact is, SLS can be drying to your skin. If you don’t have sensitive skin this probably won’t be a problem for you but for those with dry, easily irritated skin, it is best to stay away from SLS. This includes those with dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.

Nearly all commercial skincare, shampoos, and cleansers contain SLS and that is not going away anytime soon. It is cheap, effective and deemed to be safe. If it does not irritate your skin than you can safely use products with SLS. However, most products at Cowboys ‘n Angelz and SLS free.

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