Would you eat your laundry soap?
But what if you were and didn’t even know it?
Pretty gross right?
Imagine if some of those ingredients known to be harmful to your health were included in most boxed cake mixes that are on supermarket shelves.
I wish I were kidding but I’m not. This is a real thing.
There are ingredients that are allowed in food that are also used in cleaning products. Seriously! It’s unbelievable!
What are the dangerous ingredients in a cake mix?
There’s one ingredient in particular that you may not be aware of. We are talking about the un-tasty but very prevalent sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
(Okay, full disclosure here, I don’t know for sure if it’s not tasty because I’ve never eaten it. I know how bad this stuff is for you, I don’t want to either.)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used in processed foods (like boxed cake mix) as an emulsifier or as a thickener. You can also find it in cake mixes, dried egg products, gelatin, marshmallows, and fruit juice drinks. Sometimes it hides under the term “whipping aid.”
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) it’s a safe additive. That means it’s allowed not only in food but also in personal care products. Things like shampoo, hand soap, shaving cream, and also toothpaste.
It’s even allowed in cosmetics. Including mascara. Hang tight, we’ll come back to that thought in just a moment.
But it doesn’t just stop with food, cosmetics, and personal care.
SLS is also found in a wide variety of household cleaners. That’s because it’s a particular type of ingredient called a surfactant.
A surfactant is something that reduces the surface tension between two liquids. SLS tends to be found in sudsy things like laundry detergents and dishwashing soap.
Food, cosmetics, dishes, laundry soap, and personal care products…man, that’s a lot of uses for one ingredient.
I’m not in the food business, so I really can’t speak to why they allow SLS in anything you eat. But believe me, I know cleaning products… I am positive it doesn’t belong in any of them.
Why is it in there in the first place? Simple, most manufacturers use SLS because it’s cheap and it makes a lot of foam. But just because there’s foam doesn’t guarantee that something’s clean.
Plus once you find out how this toxic this stuff is you’re going to wonder what the heck anyone was thinking when they approved it for use anything.
Because while the FDA says it’s okay…the International Journal of Toxicology paints a very different picture.
Is SLS Dangerous?
Here are just a few of the health effects related to using SLS:
It’s a known irritant that can cause itching and dermatitis, in some cases there have been reports of eczema
It has been shown to cross through the skin barrier and to get into your blood and from there circulate into body tissue
There have been reported cases of scalp irritation from people using shampoos with SLS.
One study found that people who used toothpaste with SLS had pain and inflammation on the tongue. As soon as they stopped using the toothpaste with SLS? The pain and inflammation went away.
SLS has been clinically shown to be irritating to sensitive tissues, especially around the eyes. (So what on earth is it doing in mascara?!)
I’m sure you get it. This stuff isn’t good for you. Unfortunately, though, it’s not only bad for you, it’s bad for the environment.
Think about it for a moment. All that water coming out of your washing machine after you do the laundry? Or that soap going down the drain after you wash dishes, hair, brush teeth?
That has to go somewhere. Usually, it goes into the wastewater management system of your local community.
From there it gets filtered and some of it is released into the environment. Where it has been found to be toxic to aquatic life.
In my book, that’s not okay and I’m sure you agree with me. We should not be poisoning the environment in pursuit of clean clothes and dishes.
Actually, I’m opposed to anything toxic in the home. After all, I’m a dad with five kids to watch out for. They use soap, shampoo, and toothpaste every day.
One day those little rug rats are going to be big enough to do their own laundry. The last thing they need is a lifetime of exposure to ingredients that can have a negative impact on their health. Or the environment.
That’s a big part of why I make sure that if you’re using our products you’re not getting harmful ingredients like SLS or SLES.
But before you dash off to look at all of your labels (and get rid of those other products) there’s one more important thing you need to know.
There’s ANOTHER ingredient that you also need to watch out for on detergent and cleaning product labels. Sodium Laureth Ether Sulfate (SLES).
If you’re thinking it sounds similar to SLS, you’re right. That’s because of SLES made by modifying SLS.
Sometimes you’ll see SLES on the label as Sodium Laureth Sulfate. The Laureth is short for Lauryl Ether (cute how toxic cleaning ingredients have nicknames like that, not).
And just like SLS, according to industry experts, SLES is known to cause irritation of the skin and eyes. In other words, you don’t want it in any product anywhere in your home.
With our products, on the other hand, you’re getting great quality non-toxic cleaning solutions that are great for you, your family, your home, and the environment.
1 Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate. Journal of the American College of Toxicology, vol. 2, no. 5, Sept. 1983, pp. 1–34, DOI:10.3109/10915818309140713.
7 Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. Journal of the American College of Toxicology, vol. 2, no. 7, Dec. 1983, pp. 127–181, DOI:10.3109/10915818309142005.
Bondi, C.A.M., et al. Human and Environmental Toxicity of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Evidence for Safe Use in Household Cleaning Products. Environmental Health Insights. 9(1), (1 January 2020).
CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. April 1, 2019. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.822. accessed: June 18, 2020
Lewis, Michael A. The effects of mixtures and other environmental modifying factors on the toxicities of surfactants to freshwater and marine life. Water Research.Volume 26, Issue 8, August 1992, Pages 1013-1023.
Patil, S et al. Quantification of sodium lauryl sulfate penetration into the skin and underlying tissue after topical application–pharmacological and toxicological implications. Journal of pharmaceutical sciences vol. 84,10 (1995): 1240-4. DOI:10.1002/jps.2600841018
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: A Food Additive And Its Side Effects. Chemistry Zone. https://chemistryzone.blogspot.com/2009/08/sodium-lauryl-sulfate-food-additive-and.html. 2014. accessed: June 18, 2020.
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