Sulfates: Esters of (Highly Corrosive) Sulfuric Acid.

Sulfates (also spelled sulphates) are esters of sulfuric acid. Though there has been much debate about whether sulfates are good or bad for you, researchers including the FDA, EPA, and many private organizations have concluded that sulfates are safe for use in products like shaving cream, shampoo, soap, and even toothpaste in very small concentrations. And this is true, but they are only safe for use in small concentrations because large amounts of sulfates can cause a host of health problems. Luckily, most all products like those (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) do in fact have small concentrations of sulfates in them.

But what about cleaning products like laundry detergent? Yep, that’s right, cleaning solutions like laundry detergents contain high concentrations of sulfates which can lead to various health problems. A cruel test conducted on lab rats at a concentration of 15 percent with prolonged exposure produced harmful effects like skin irritation, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, and in some cases death.

What are these sulfates you are supposed to watch out for anyways? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) are the 3 most commonly used sulfates in household products like detergents, shampoos, and toothpastes. You may find some products labeled as “sulfate-free”, but be sure to check the ingredients for words like Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Taurate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, and Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, as these are essentially sulfates with a slightly different chemical makeup and a name change.

With this new found knowledge, I you will shop smarter and find sulfate-free household products to promote your chemical-free lifestyle. And, for all of your laundry needs, Rustic Strength’s laundry detergents are (and always will be) totally sulfate-free! And, for more information be sure to check out these helpful articles about sulfates.