Sodium lauryl sulfate
What is it?Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a surfactant (foaming agent). At Tom’s Maine, our sodium lauryl sulfate is naturally derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil. SLS has a long history of safe use in a variety of consumer personal care products, including toothpaste. The SLS Tom’s uses is naturally-derived and meets the strict guidelines of our stewardship model for being a natural, sustainable and responsible (safe, effective) ingredient.
What does it do?Tom’s of Maine uses SLS in our toothpaste to properly disperse the ingredients, and ensure easy rinsing and removal of debris (i.e. food particles).
Is SLS safe to use?Yes, SLS has a long history of safe use in a variety of personal care products, and Tom’s performs additional tests to evaluate its safety in our products. We use SLS only at the levels needed to deliver on its intended purpose, delight consumers and be safe. It also has no known toxicity – not even when ingested. SLS can be irritating if two conditions exist – it is used at too high a concentration and if it is left on the skin for an extended period of time. This doesn’t happen in our toothpaste. Our SLS levels have been optimized through consumer testing to perform their intended purpose and meet consumer's brushing expectations for foam while maintaining safety. Tom’s of Maine is about choice, however, and we recognize that no two people are alike. Even with pure and natural ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use and consult with your dental professional if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
Does SLS cause cancer?No. Research conducted by reputable sources such as International Agency Research on Cancer and the American Cancer Society supports that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is not a carcinogen.
If I don’t want SLS in my toothpaste, what are the alternatives?For those of our consumers who prefer to use a Tom’s of Maine toothpaste without SLS, we offer our Clean & Gentle and Botanically Bright toothpastes. Clean & Gentle use another gentle ingredient glycyrrhizin, derived from licorice root, to foam and disperse ingredients. Botanically Bright™ uses our best performing SLS alternative, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate and Lauryl glucoside, derived from coconut or palm kernel oil and corn. At Tom’s of Maine, we are continuing to research SLS alternatives that meet our strict stewardship guidelines and deliver on the unique needs of our consumers.
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