Some Companies, to gain a marketing edge, have often gone to great lengths to exploit widely held consumer beliefs, however misguided, that their is a carcinogenic risk posed by sodium lauryl sulphate. Despite strong evidence to the contrary, including an article published by the American Cancer Society definitively positing no link between SLS and cancer, this urban legend remains ingrained in many consumers' minds. No evidence in the literature has ever been found directly linking SLS to cancer. SLS is a coarse powder that is used as a foaming agent. It is created by joining sulphate and lauric acid, two compounds widely found in nature.
One dubious claim often made by the dozens of anti-SLS websites is that sodium lauryl sulphate is carcinogenic because it produces nitrosamines when it reacts with formaldehyde. Since neither compound contains a nitrogen atom, however, that is chemically impossible.
Despite the fact that there was and still is no hard evidence to back up the link between SLS and cancer, many unscrupulous companies took advantage of the suspicions and allegations raised by such websites to market as many "SLS-free" products as they could, often selling them to major organic/natural stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats, thus helping to further legitimise this myth. Although many of these body care products contained far more harmful chemicals such as parabens and ethanolamines (which do contain nitrosamines), the sole scapegoating of SLS allowed these companies to safely continue using them without arousing much public scrutiny.
David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, has long felt that SLS has been unfairly scapegoated in the beauty care industry. "We do feel that SLS has been incorrectly scapegoated, as a lightning rod for legitimate consumer concerns about cosmetic ingredient safety... the issue with SLS primarily has to do with it being irritating to skin, which can be addressed by buffering with ingredients like Coco Glucoside," he said, stating that his company doesn't use it in any of its personal care products (though it does use it in one of its cleaning products).
It is worth noting they (SLES and SLES) are not banned by the US Food and Drug Administration nor The Therapeutic Goods Association of Australia. It is a scientific fact that Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Ammonium Laureth Sulphate exhibit a high degree of foaming and impart "softness" to the skin. These ingredients are especially useful in soap products when the products are used in high mineral content water (hard water).
In saying the above, we do not use Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) in any of our products due to the urban myth!