What you don't know can hurt you

The solution is as simple as reading the labels on your personal care products and replacing them with safe ones. One of the worst and most widespread of these dangerous ingredients is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is absorbed through the skin and retained in the brain, heart and liver.

Studies show that SLS also affects other areas in the body, such as your child's still developing eyes. SLS has been shown to retard the proper development of eye tissues, cause cataracts, slow the healing of other eye problems and even cause blindness. SLS doesn't even have to get in the eyes to cause eye damage. It does as much harm when it is absorbed through the skin. Many so called "natural" products also have SLS as an ingredient. They may have a label that says, "100% natural ingredients." Just because it says natural, doesn't mean it's good to put on your body.

Poison ivy is natural, but I sure don't want that on my skin. The intended use of SLS is as an ingredient car wash soaps, engine degreaser and garage floor cleaner. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet for SLS, exposure can lead to a burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting. It also specifically warns that SLS may be harmful if absorbed through the skin and that prolonged or repeated exposure should be avoided. (The federal government requires a Material Safety Data Sheet for any hazardous chemical.) For the full article, visit the Non-Toxic Personal Care website.

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