EPA Analysis of Laundry Detergents

A long and detailed analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency of America on the most popular laundry detergent ingredients used and their effect on the skin and the environment. Interestingly, one of the ingredients analysed is Cocamidopropyl Betaine, a commonly used synthetic detergent in both natural and non-natural soaps/washes! Derived from coconut oil (though its processing uses petroleum ingredients), it’s replaced Sodium Lauryl Sulphate as the surfactant of choice amongst many brands. –  

For humans, CAPB has been found to cause skin irritation. Exposure of human skin to a soap formulation containing CAPB for several consecutive days produced minimal skin irritation, whereas longer exposure produced more severe irritation. In laboratory animals, skin application of CAPB solutions produced a range of irritation reactions, from no reaction to severe irritation, depending on the percentage of CAPB in the solution tested. Allergic reactions were not found in humans whose skin was exposed to several different formulations of CAPB. Several instances of apparent contact dermatitis in humans exposed to consumer products that contain CAPB have been reported, but recent evidence suggests that the major cause of this reaction is a different chemical present in the detergent formulation. Laboratory animals whose skin was exposed to CAPB have shown no or slight allergic responses. CAPB is potentially irritating to the eye. Laboratory animals exposed to varying concentrations of CAPB exhibited swollen eyelids and mild to moderate corneal irritation.

Click epa.gov to read the full article. 

Shampoo and the planet – Green Living Tips

Wonderful post from a guy greenie on finding out what really goes into his little bottle of shampoo – 

But I took a close look at my bottle of shampoo one day and my hair stood on end before I even washed it. The front label stated “Vitamin E Moisture Rich Shampoo – Professional performance formula”, but what I read on the back made me wonder about the volume of potential poisons I’ve been washing into the environment over the last 3 decades plus, simply through washing my hair.

Having a blackwater system at the time for recycling our household waste water also made me a little more conscious about this kind of thing. If we had put chemicals down our drains that upset the good bacteria, they couldn’t do their job properly in chewing up all the nasties. Throw it out of balance, and restoring the balance can take a long while.

Here were the ingredients of my shampoo and what I discovered about them:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate – used in clinical testing as a primary skin irritant. Tests on lab animals indicate material may cause mutagenic effects.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine – potential irritant and potentially contaminated with or breaking down into chemicals linked to cancer,

Ammonium Chloride – Harmful if swallowed. May be harmful by inhalation. Skin, eye and respiratory irritant

Tocopheryl Acetate – Vitamin E

Camellia Sensis Leaf Extract – OK depending on extraction process

Fennel – OK depending on extraction process

Fruit Extract – Hrm.. depending on extraction process

Epilobium Angustifolium Extract – OK depending on extraction process

Sunflower Extract – OK depending on extraction process

Hazel leaf Extract – OK depending on extraction process

Sweet Almond fruit extract – OK depending on extraction process

Panthenol –  Vitamin B5

Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolized wheat protein – not sure

Quaternium-22 – May contain harmful impurities or form toxic breakdown products

Butylene Glycol – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board

Propylene Glycol –  allows other chemicals to penetrate into the skin, suspected Respiratory, Skin or sense organ, Immunotoxicity and Neurotoxicity hazards

Polyquaternium-10 – a mildly irritating toxic polymer

Sodium Chloride – common salt

Tetrasodium EDTA – allows other chemicals to penetrate into the skin

Citric Acid – OK depending on extraction process

Hexylene Glycol – neurotoxin, sensitizer and irritant

Triethanolomine – may contain residual levels of nitrosamines, a carcinogen

Methylchloroisothiazolinone -immune system toxin, lung sensitizer,

Geraniol – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board

Butylphenyl Methylpropional – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board

Linalool – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board

Hexyl Cinnamal – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board

Limonene – a hydrocarbon that poses potential risks to wildlife and the environment through water contamination. Carcinogen to some animals

Fragrance (I hate to think)

OK, so before I start sounding overly paranoid, I’m well aware that everything is made up of chemicals – even natural ingredients; and “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean non-toxic. 2 potentially nasty chemicals can also combine to make something quite safe and useful – e.g.; sodium + chloride = salt. The type and level of chemical hazard does also greatly depend on quantity and manufacturing – but the point is, they are being manufactured; in bulk – and that in itself requires huge energy inputs and poses risks for the environment. Nature may produce similar chemicals, but it’s a natural process in harmony with the planet and environment.

And here’s a real kicker – like so many other products in our modern lives, many chemicals used in shampoos have their origins as derivatives of crude oil.

Click greenlivingtips.com to read the full article.


Dangers Of Cocamidopropyl Betaine – Livestrong.com


More on the dangers of cocamidopropyl betaine which is, sadly, being used more and more by other natural and organic manufacturers who consider it ‘natural’ as it’s derived from coconut oil  – 
Cocamidopropyl betaine is a chemical found in many personal care products, including shampoo, toothpaste and body wash. The chemical is derived from coconuts and is used to make products produce more foam. Because cocamidopropyl betaine originates from coconut oil, even some personal care products labeled as natural still contain it. Although the government regards the ingredient as safe, some people do have negative reactions after exposure to it.
Click livestrong.com to read the full article. 

What Is Cocamidopropyl Betaine? – Wisegeek.com

More on cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) – 
Cocamidopropyl betaine, also known by the acronym CAPB, is a sticky, yellow liquid derived from coconut oil and a chemical called dimethylaminopropylamine. It is a mild amphoteric surfactant — a detergent that can act as an acid or a base — and is typically used in bath and personal cleansing products. It helps produce foam in such products as bubble bath and can help thicken products such as hair conditioner. It also has mild antiseptic qualities. Allergic reactions and skin irritation are possible, especially for peoplewith more sensitive skin.

Sometimes referred to as coco-betaine, cocamidopropyl betaine can also be labeled on product containers as N-(carboxy methyl)-N, N-dimethyl-3-[(1-oxococonut) amino]-1-propanaminium hydroxide, or inner salt. Cocamidopropyl betaine can be an effective foam booster or foam stabilizer, making it a common ingredient in bubble bath products, body washes and shampoos. It also can be used as a thickener or as an anti-static agent and is often found as an ingredient in hair conditioners. It has emulsifying and moisturizing capabilities as well and is commonly used in bath oils and cosmetics.
Click wisegeek.com to read the full article.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine. [Dermatitis. 2008 May-Jun] – PubMed result

Interesting research on an often-used ingredient in many natural skincare products. Cocamidopropyl betaine is derived from coconut and is thought of as a relatively mild cleanser but it can cause allergic reactions and may not be a good option for sensitive skin. A good reminder to check the ingredient lists on the products you buy before you put them on your bathroom shelf! 

Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) is an amphoteric synthetic detergent that has been increasingly used in cosmetics and personal hygiene products (eg, shampoos, contact lens solutions, toothpaste detergents, makeup removers, bath gels, skin care products, cleansers, liquid soaps, antiseptics, and gynecologic and anal hygiene products) because it induces relatively mild skin irritation. Delayed T-cell-mediated type IV hypersensitivity reactions to CAPB have been reported, and contact sensitization prevalence is estimated at between 3.0 and 7.2%. The increasing rates of sensitization led to CAPB’s being named Allergen of the Year in 2004. Related impurities rendered during the manufacturing process (such as amidoamine and dimethylaminopropylamine) are thought to play a role in sensitization.

Click here to read the full article.