Sodium Lauryl Sulfate from Natural Sources is not Necessarily Safe
Besides the direct harm that Linear alyl sodium sulfonates can cause to the surface of your skin other risks are associated with the use of these substances. As with many synthetic compounds, these surfactants will carry with them minute amounts of trace impurities. Sodium lauryl sulfate can be produced from palm oil, it is know as the coconut surfactant. Because of this sodium lauryl sulfate is often regarded as a safe, natural source surfactant. Unfortunately, though it is derived from plant sources, it can not be expected to be toxin free.
The manufacturing processes used to create sodium lauryl sulfate are still subject to tainting with dioxins even when they are produced from plant sources. Benzenes may also be present as impurities. These toxins are carcinogenic and are harmful to the unborn. Not only are they harmful to the person who uses the detergent that accidentally contains them, but, they are frequently leaked into the environment during the manufacturing of the surfactant. Outbreaks of dermatitis, in Scandinavia, on a couple of occasions, were traced to impurities which were present in particular improperly processed batches of sodium lauryl sulfate used to produce detergent with.
Is the coconut surfactant really safe and natural? It does not look like it is. Check the labels of your personal care products. It is surprising how many products are formulated with this surfactant. Personally I would consider purchasing different and more simple products in the future. Natural soaps made with old fashioned saponified fats (the same as bar soap) would be my first pick.
Gloxhuber, C., Klaus Kunster; Anionic Surfactants: Biochemistry, toxicology, dermatology, Surfactant Science Series, Volume 43, second edition, revised and expanded. New York, USA, 1992. pages 299 - 302,
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