Every year, cosmetic manufacturers pride themselves on formulating more effective ingredients to give you that “youthful glow”. But did you know that our families are being exposed to more and more potentially lethal chemicals in the process? With droves of people suffering from mysterious symptoms and allergies, could the root of the problem be in that new “improved” beauty products or cleaning agents?

This article will take a look at two of the commonly used and most potentially dangerous chemicals: sodium lauryl sulfate / sodium laureth sulfate and 1,4 dioxane.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate / Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are surfactants and emulsifiers that are used in many beauty and cleaning products. (Sodium laureth sulfate is slightly less irritating).

Sulfates are found in many shampoos, body washes, soaps and lotions, creams and hair preparations. Due to beauty concerns, such as the drying and stripping the hair of natural oils, companies are forming products that are “sulfate free.” But, what are these things doing in such personal products, anyway? And, what is the amount of damage that they can cause in the body?

What Are Sulfates?

Sulfates are cheap foaming agents (that's always the bottom line, is not it?) It has been classified by the Environmental Working Group as a “moderate hazard.” Its health effects include: irritation of eyes, organ toxicity, developmental / reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity and cellular changes, mutation and cancer. Pretty scary is not it?

To make matters worse, these ingredients can be masqueraded under many different names. They include:

  • Sodium dodecyl sulfate
  • Sulfluric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt
  • Sodium salt sulfuric acid
  • Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid
  • A13-00356
  • kyposal SDS
  • Aquarex ME
  • Aquarex methyl

This is really disgusting. However, it really highlights the fact that label reading is important not only in the foods we eat, but the detergents and cleaners that we use.

1,4 Dioxane

1,4 dioxane is a byproduct of synthetic 1,4 dioxance which is created when laundry detergents and other cleaning products are cheaply manufactured using ethoxylation-a short-cut process in which chemicals are used to alter fatty acids to give them detergent properties. Since 1,4 dioxane is a byproduct, it does not require listing on the product label! Can you see how these companies, and the FDA are playing games with our health?

Okay, now, what does this chemical do to our health? Well, 1,4 dioxane is considered a carcinogen in California. According to the CDC, it has been found to be potentially toxic to the brain and nervous system. It also can damage the kidneys and liver (organs of excretion). It is also non-biodegradable, so it can accumulate in lakes, streams and rivers, then endangering wildlife.

In Summary

For the health of everyone involved, an educated consumer is the best consumer. Make sure to read the labels and carefully select the products that you use on your person, as well as around the house. The health of your family and the environment depend upon it.