Friday, August 28, 2009

How to find out whether chemical ingredients pose health risks

Ever wondered or tried to find out what sodium lauryl sulfate really is? Or dipropylene glycol? Or any of the other mysterious chemical compounds on the labels of personal care products?
If not, I can hardly blame you. Researching things like this is normally pretty low on my to-do list.

But there are times when I do want to know, and one of the best resources I've found is the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. You can search it for information on any and every ingredient used in cosmetic and personal care products. I have a link to it on my website's Links & Resources page. Each ingredient is rated for it's level of toxicity and potential harm, which is useful for people who are interested in reducing their level of exposure to some of the more more questionable chemicals found in everyday household products.

One caveat. Keep in mind that the toxicity ratings are often based on tests that involve substantially higher exposure rates than one would experience in normal use of whatever the product is.

But that said, I think it's a useful resource for consumers and an especially valuable resource for soap makers who use pre-made soap or lotion bases or add chemical detergents, surfactants, preservatives, and so on to anything that they make.

And the site has the most beautiful soap bubble image! Isn't this gorgeous?

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