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Hidden Hazards in Body Care Products

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a known toxin, lurks in most shampoos.

We shouldn't be surprised to find out that some of the chemicals in body care products are subtle toxins that can, over the years, cause us harm. After all, very little effort goes into investigating the long term effects of these products or the chemicals they contain. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't even regulate the cosmetic/body industry for safety.

One particularly suspect body-care ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) also called sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium laurel sulfate. This detergent is present in about 90% of the commercial shampoos, most commercial toothpastes, as well as some products sold in health food stores. Research has shown a number of health problems associated with it:

• SLS can react with other chemicals to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Using a shampoo in which nitrosamines have formed can result in absorption of these toxins at a much higher rate than eating foods with nitrates - one shampooing is the equivalent of eating a pound of bacon.

SLS, Sodium Laurel Sulphate is a little known toxin found in many of the products you use everyday.

• SLS is known to cause serious eye damage to young animals by interfering with protein formation. Exposure may lead to ocular tissue malformation, blindness, cataracts, as well as retarded healing of eye tissue. Contact with the eyes is not necessary for a problem to occur, since SLS can be absorbed by the skin and travel through the body to the eyes.

• SLS is known as a skin irritant, and by penetrating and damaging the skin barrier, it can cause rough skin as well as magnify the skin's allergic response to other toxins. Hair follicles deteriorate with exposure to SLS. This impairs the hair growth cycle and prolongs the hair loss phase from the normal 3 months up to 24. The result - thinning hair.

Reprinted from Spectrum, The Wholistic News Magazine (July/August 1994 Issue, Page 37, Reprinted with permission.)

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