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Author Topic: What’s in your shampoo?  (Read 27918 times)

Offline Alandriel

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What’s in your shampoo?
« on: 08/10/2007 21:10:17 »
What’s in your shampoo?

Andrews thread over at Complementary Medicine did inspire me to write this up and I hope you, Andrew, don’t mind me ‘borrowing’ somewhat your thread title.
If you do, I don’t mind changing mine to something different.

I also hope this is in the right forum as usually chemists totally scare me (in a good way!) but this thread probably belongs in here more than any other forum.
If I’m wrong, Mods just move it please.


For a long time now I’ve made it a habit to really read labels. Labels of foods, drinks etc. that I buy but I haven’t exactly extended that all the way to cosmetics. Yes, I’ve stopped using commercial creams/lotions a long time and make my own from natural ingredients but I’ve never quite gone all the way.

Not all the way to shampoo.

The main function of shampoo is to clean hair. This function is so simple that advertisers have to work very hard to make it sound more complicated and/or exciting. It’s not just shampoo. Oh no, you also get harmony, nourishment, adoration by the opposite sex etc. But actually, underneath all the gloss, a shampoo is just a bottle of coloured, perfumed detergent. Just exactly what is in it, well I hope to find out.

With your help perhaps (and apologies for any spelling mistakes, it’s kinda hard for a non geek)

My shampoo contains:

01. Aqua – simple water (or purified water) and quite a lot of it, as it’s mentioned first – so a lot of the money goes to….. water

02. Sodium Laureth Sulfate or SLES, detergent and foaming agent and possible irritant to eyes and skin. Laureth compounds can also easily be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane (nice!)

03. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS, detergent and foaming agent is so harsh that it is used in medical research to induce a benchmark skin irritation against which all other potential skin irritants are measured.

04. Citric Acid from e.g. lemon juice, pH  2.4, strong enough to remove limescale and copper tarnish yet probably one of the milder ingredients in this concoction...

05. Sodium Chloride simple table salt, added to soften water and to help the product rinse better. Also as a viscosity adjuster.

06. PPG-2-Hydroxyethyl coco/isostearamide as far as I can determine a neurotoxin ??????

07 Sodium citrate ‘sour salt’; what’s it doing in my shampoo???????

08. Sodium xylenesulfonate can’t find that ????????

09. Perfume gotta smell good……  ;D

10. Sodium benzoate preservative also used in e.g. margarine, soft drinks, pickles, jellies and jams. Ingestion has caused birth defects in experimental animal studies. Under scrutiny as it may form the carcinogen benzene in reaction with  ascorbic acid

11. Limonene synthetic citrus fragrance. Can cause skin irritation and may trigger asthma attacks. Powerful sensitiser and can produce tumours and other growth abnormalities.

12 Tetrasodium EDTA preservative. Can cause skin, mucuous membrance and eye irritation as well as contact dermatitis/allergies. Environmentally persistent it bind with heavy metals in lakes and streams, aiding their re-entry into the food chain

13 Polyquatemium-10 ?????

14 Linalool synthetic herbal woody fragrance also a common pesticide (no chance of fleas – there ya go! ~~~~)

15 Sodium Diethylenetriamine Pentamethyle phosphonate (I won’t ever try to pronounce that one) ???

16 Hydroxycitronellal I know citronella, a natural essential oil but somehow I don’t think there’s anything much natural about this one??
17 Hexyl cinnamal cinnamates? Sunscreening agent?????

18 Butyphenyl methylpropional ??????

19 Benzyl salicylate: aroma. Enhances penetration that allow other chemicals of the product to get deeper. Some Salicylates are oestrogenic (mimic oestrogen)

20 Etidronic acid ?????

21 Propylene glycol solvent, humectant and wetting agent. Irritating to eyes and skin and respiratory tract. Applied topically it acts as a penetration enhancer, altering skin structure to allow other substances to penetrate more deeply and readily

22 Hydroxyisohexyl e-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde ??

23 Cymbopogon schoenathus Lemongrass, a known irrant and insecticide. Probably used also for the fragrance

24 Citrus tangerine Tangerine essential oil, pretty much harmless

25 Aloe barbadensis Aloe, a natural moisturizing and skin healing agent

26 Tocopheryl acetate ????

27 Ascorbyl glucoside??????

28 CI 15510 some kind of colour no doubt…. ??????????

29 Methylchloroisothiazolinone: yay! nice name ???????

30 Triacetin solvent and humectant. can also be used as a fuel additive . Lovely,versatile, I can put it in my car too…..

31 Methylisothiazolinone ????

32 Potassion sorbate yet another preservative

 32 ingredients to clean my hair .............:o  :o  :o


..... I'm not going to look at the conditioner.

I'm going to need a viable alternative me thinks.....
« Last Edit: 09/12/2007 22:27:18 by chris »


 

Offline neilep

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #1 on: 08/10/2007 22:51:03 »
LOL...I'll have a number 11, 18 and 23 with egg fried rice !!... ;D
 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #2 on: 08/10/2007 23:54:23 »
I hate all stuff in the bottles. I have some homemade shampoo recips somewhere with lavendar etc. not all that gunk!
 

Offline kdlynn

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #3 on: 08/10/2007 23:56:36 »
i'm ok with chemicals in my hair. it's just hair... it's already dead
 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #4 on: 09/10/2007 01:34:53 »
what goes in your hair inters the pours atop your brain where you loose a ton of body heat every day!
 

Offline Quantum_Vaccuum

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #5 on: 09/10/2007 01:36:25 »
or gain if the substance is hot, is that correct?
 

Offline Karen W.

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #6 on: 09/10/2007 01:43:08 »
I would think so!
 

Offline moonfire

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #7 on: 09/10/2007 09:58:16 »
Oh, to add something else to the mix of shampoo, just check out the directions on how to use Aussie Shampoo.  Each one of them are different and guaranteed to make you laugh.(yes, I am easily amused especially when they include some lyrics to a song on them.) ;-)
 

Offline Alandriel

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #8 on: 09/10/2007 11:44:32 »
LOL...I'll have a number 11, 18 and 23 with egg fried rice !!... ;D

*insert green faced smiley*  ***gulp*** bon appetit!!

Do you have life insurance???


- found one


I've tried making shampoos in the past but have not been all that successful from what I remember.
I've dabbled with soapworth - which btw. is used by restorers to clean valuable tapestries etc. Must look
back into this one.

Karen if you have a recipe that works please pass it on

Kadie what Kate and Quantum say is correct. Some of it ends up in your system.
That reminds of the study someone did regarding how talc ends up in women's ovaries and then ends up causing cancers.
Not fun that!!!!

Moonfire (lovely name!) the aussie shampoo directions are hillarious as are their adds - I've burst out laughing
a couple of time on the London tube and netted some pretty strange looks.  ;D

Here in the UK we have a company called Lush that supposedly makes cosmetics with less nasties in it.
Last time I looked I was not impressed with the ingredients in their moisturizers. They do make a dry
shampoo bar. Gotta check into that again........

 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #9 on: 09/10/2007 20:44:34 »
LOL...I'll have a number 11, 18 and 23 with egg fried rice !!... ;D
You only need to find the other 29 components, and then you can wash your hair  ;D
 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #10 on: 09/10/2007 20:47:05 »
Oh, to add something else to the mix of shampoo, just check out the directions on how to use Aussie Shampoo.  Each one of them are different and guaranteed to make you laugh.(yes, I am easily amused especially when they include some lyrics to a song on them.) ;-)
In Italy, instead, we have shampoos that makes you fall in love...
Would you like to try the one I have?   ;)
« Last Edit: 09/10/2007 20:54:07 by lightarrow »
 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #11 on: 09/10/2007 20:53:52 »
...
08. Sodium xylenesulfonate can’t find that ????????
...
If you google each component you should find everything you look for. Example:
http://www.chemicalland21.com/industrialchem/solalc/SODIUM%20XYLENESULFONATE.htm
 

Offline sohail

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #12 on: 09/10/2007 20:54:45 »
LOL...I'll have a number 11, 18 and 23 with egg fried rice !!... ;D
Apparently egg is good for your hair, according to some middle-eastern tradition, I'm not sure whether it's myth or fact though...
 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #13 on: 09/10/2007 20:57:08 »
LOL...I'll have a number 11, 18 and 23 with egg fried rice !!... ;D
Apparently egg is good for your hair, according to some middle-eastern tradition, I'm not sure whether it's myth or fact though...
Maybe. At the radio, yesterday, they said lemon juice is very good too!
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #14 on: 09/10/2007 21:23:35 »
OK, let's have another look.
1 It's mainly water- clearly nasty stuff, look up its other name "diprotium monoxide".
2 "Sodium Laureth Sulfate or SLES, detergent and foaming agent and possible irritant to eyes and skin. Laureth compounds can also easily be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane (nice!)"
So the stuff has detergent in it; gosh. It may irritate the skin and eyes (like soap then). It may contain dioxane; it may not, which is quite likely in the circumstances. Without saying how much dioxane it actually contains this doesn't mean anything.
3 "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS, detergent and foaming agent is so harsh that it is used in medical research to induce a benchmark skin irritation against which all other potential skin irritants are measured. "
Gosh 2 detergents; aren't they generous.
The fact that it's an irritant is hardly shocking. Spend too long in the bath and you find out that water is too.
They use it as the standard of irritancy. Yep, fair enough- that doesn't mean it's a particularly good one. They could use mustard gas but that's not nice to work with so the testers will have found one of the least potent irritants to use as a reference.

4"Citric Acid from e.g. lemon juice, pH  2.4, strong enough to remove limescale and copper tarnish yet probably one of the milder ingredients in this concoction..."
For a start, learn about buffers. Secondly, the last time I checked the Krebs cycle was still using citrate and still vital to life. BTW, pure water will remove limescale- very slowly.

5. "Sodium Chloride simple table salt, added to soften water and to help the product rinse better. Also as a viscosity adjuster."
What no references to this evil food additive that raises blood pressure? Somebody's slacking.

6 PPG-2-Hydroxyethyl coco/isostearamide as far as I can determine a neurotoxin ??????
How did you make that determination? are you a toxicologist? It might be second cousin to a couple of neurotransmitters but that's hardly a convincing case.

07 Sodium citrate ‘sour salt’; what’s it doing in my shampoo???????
Buffering the pH

08. Sodium xylenesulfonate can’t find that ????????
How hard did you try? there are near 15000 hits on google.
It's a surfactant among other things.

09. Perfume gotta smell good……  

10. Sodium benzoate preservative also used in e.g. margarine, soft drinks, pickles, jellies and jams. Ingestion has caused birth defects in experimental animal studies. Under scrutiny as it may form the carcinogen benzene in reaction with  ascorbic acid

Present naturally in many fruits

11. Limonene synthetic citrus fragrance. Can cause skin irritation and may trigger asthma attacks. Powerful sensitiser and can produce tumours and other growth abnormalities.

OK, where's the evidence that it's synthetic?
If it is then at least you know you get a pure product. If you were to use natural lemon (or orange) oil it would have other things in it; many of those are also allergens.

12 Tetrasodium EDTA preservative. Can cause skin, mucous membranes and eye irritation as well as contact dermatitis/allergies. Environmentally persistent it bind with heavy metals in lakes and streams, aiding their re-entry into the food chain
Probably not going to cause any irritation to the concentrations present here.
EDTA is noted for use in removing toxic metals from the body (most notable in the treatment of lead poisoning)

13 Polyquatemium-10 ?????
try the correct spelling
Polyquaternium 10 is an antistatic compound among other things.

14 Linalool synthetic herbal woody fragrance also a common pesticide (no chance of fleas – there ya go! ~~~~)

Once again, who says it's synthetic and who cares whether it is or not.
It comes to something that by giving a "chemical" name and labeling something as synthetic you can turn the smell of lillies into a threat.

15 Sodium Diethylenetriamine Pentamethyle phosphonate (I won’t ever try to pronounce that one) ???

You don't need to pronounce it, just spell it right then look it up. It's there to prevent/ disperse soap scum among other possible things.

16 Hydroxycitronellal I know citronella, a natural essential oil but somehow I don’t think there’s anything much natural about this one??
The most toxic things (ricin anyone?) known tend to be natural so I don't see the point of saying this stuff isn't. It's a perfume- you don't have to use perfumed shampoo.

17 Hexyl cinnamal cinnamates? Sunscreening agent?????
Yes, what's so odd about preventing UV damage to the product and to your hair?

18 Butyphenyl methylpropional ??????
Another perfume that you could have decided not to choose.

19 Benzyl salicylate: aroma. Enhances penetration that allow other chemicals of the product to get deeper.
 Some Salicylates are oestrogenic (mimic oestrogen)
Yes, but this one isn't so why mention the others?

20 Etidronic acid ?????
(why so many questionmarks?) anyway it's to prevent problems with hard water.

21 Propylene glycol solvent, humectant and wetting agent. Irritating to eyes and skin and respiratory tract. Applied topically it acts as a penetration enhancer, altering skin structure to allow other substances to penetrate more deeply and readily

Probably present because you need something to dissolve the perfumes etc in before you mix them into the product. also know as E1520- a food additive. It is metabolised in the body to lactate- a naturally occurring material there.


22 Hydroxyisohexyl e-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde ??
Probably a perfume; I'm getting tired of looking them up.

23 Cymbopogon schoenathus Lemongrass, a known irritant and insecticide. Probably used also for the fragrance
Also a known ingredient in my favorite curry . Not actually a threat to humanity.

24 Citrus tangerine Tangerine essential oil, pretty much harmless
Odd that you seem to think it's harmless just because it comes from a plant. OK if you didn't think the ricin was a good example, how about the cyanide in apple pips? Natural does not mean good or safe.

25 Aloe barbadensis Aloe, a natural moisturizing and skin healing agent
What no mention of the use of aloes as a laxative. This is due to irritation. Now when its something "chemical" like  number 2 or 3 on the ingredients list that's a big problem; but when it's natural it doesn't get a mention.

26 Tocopheryl acetate ????
Viamin E

27 Ascorbyl glucoside??????
A compound of glucose and vitamin C
Both added as anti-oxidants rather than for nutrition.

28 CI 15510 some kind of colour no doubt…. ??????????

Sodium 4-[(2-hydroxy-1-naphthyl)azo]benzenesulphonate A dyestuff

Again, why all the question marks?

29 Methylchloroisothiazolinone: yay! nice name ???????
Yes, it is a nice name. Unfortunately the numbers are missing. If they were present and you knew what you were talking about, you could work out the structure from that name.
It's a preservative btw.

30 Triacetin solvent and humectant. can also be used as a fuel additive . Lovely,versatile, I can put it in my car too…..
Good lord! a chemical that has more than one use. Err, actually there are lots. It's probably here for the same reason as the propanediol

31 Methylisothiazolinone ????

A preservative with a longish name.
32 Potassion sorbate yet another preservative
And yet again, as with the sodium salt it's present in food naturally.

So, when you look at that list of things
None of them is going to do you any real harm unless you have the misfortune to be allergic to it. (some of the more potent allergens are the natural ingredients).
If you get the stuff in your eyes it might sting until you wash it out (ever met soap?)
All of them are there for a reason- some of the really scary long names are perfumes and you chose them.

What is the purpose of the original post? it's clearly biased against "chemicals" (I know water is a chemical too but that doesn't seem to occur to some people.
Does it deserve to be on a scientific web site?


 

Offline Alandriel

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #15 on: 11/10/2007 16:06:46 »
Sorry….
Didn’t mean to ‘abandon’ this thread for quite this long but real life has the nasty habit of suddenly getting very busy….

Quote from: lightarrow
In Italy, instead, we have shampoos that makes you fall in love...Would you like to try the one I have?
LOL – you don’t’ by any chance mean HerbalEssences? Now that add is almost x-rated! ::)

Yes, you’re right of course, I could google each term – but you see I can’t argue …. erm debate with google and ask what probably amounts to pretty dumb questions. It’s much nicer to try and discover and discuss things in here with knowledgeable people – not a search enginge / database. ;D


Quote from: sohail
Apparently egg is good for your hair, according to some middle-eastern tradition, I'm not sure whether it's myth or fact though...

Not only in middle eastern traditions.  ;D
I have some shampoo/conditioning recipes that date back to 18th century England and egg, especially the yolk features quite heavily. I’ve tried it before as a conditioning treatment, pre-shampoo (as you really want to wash that one out quite carefully). It’s fun to use but quite smelly. Perhaps I need to refine one of my hair-mayonnaise recipes and add some more nice essential oils to that.
Egg yolk, I believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong and feel free to add) contains a lot of lecithin, cholesterol and is also rich in many minerals - all great stuff for conditioning hair... ;D


***~~~***~~~***


Quote from: Bored chemist
OK, let's have another look……

I was sincerely hoping someone would take it up.  :)
Thanks for your time and effort in this. It really is much appreciated.

When I said in my very first post that I’m scared of chemists and chemistry but in a good way I really meant it.
I hold both chemists and chemicals in high respect (perhaps not exactly for the same reasons and in the same way but that’s of little matter here). If my initial post came across as an assault on chemistry then I sincerely apologize. I merely meant to be critical. My attempts at humour (e.g. the perhaps excessive use of ??, colour and other idiosyncrasies) sometimes don’t translate well to a message board setting....


I read a lot, but at the same time my knowledge of chemistry is - sadly - pretty basic. When I read articles that are critical of what goes into the stuff we use everyday my reaction is the same GOSH as yours (perhaps, again, not exactly for the same reasons and in the same way).

I greatly admire what chemists and chemistry have done and continue to do to make our lives so easy. At the same time I keep on hearing just how bad certain / many things can be and that really makes me think, makes me worried. As a therapist I come across way too many people that struggle with toxicity symptoms, allergies etc. and the people so affected keep getting younger and younger.

Is it really necessary to have all this things in the stuff we surround ourselves with? Aren’t we really (slowly or not so slowly) poisoning our environment and ourselves? Is it not possible to do with less, at least less ‘impactive’ stuff (for lack of a better term…)


Quote from: Bored chemist
What is the purpose of the original post? it's clearly biased against "chemicals" (I know water is a chemical too but that doesn't seem to occur to some people.
Does it deserve to be on a scientific web site?

I was hoping that someone knowledgeable like you would counterbalance what I’ve put out a bit deliberately skewed one way.

Balance is needed in all avenues of life and you have helped me restore some of that much needed balance, even if it’s just in the matter of shampoo.

As far as I understand it this message board was created to form a bridge between the public and scientists, to make science more accessible to those, like me, that don’t have a PHD in….. chemistry in this case. So, yes, I think it's ok to have a thread like this here.  :)



But let’s get back to the chemistry….

Is it possible to make an effective shampoo with only a handful of ingredients? Ingredients that neither harm the person nor the environment?
And if so - why don't we see those more on the shelves...

I’d like to hear your views and suggestions.
 :)
« Last Edit: 11/10/2007 16:10:48 by Alandriel »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #16 on: 11/10/2007 19:39:10 »
"and the people so affected keep getting younger and younger."
 You seem to have found the fountain of youth.

If you had asked what those chemicals were for I'd probably have answered. Many of them I knew; the others I'd have searched for. I really don't think the bias helped.
"Is it possible to make an effective shampoo with only a handful of ingredients? Ingredients that neither harm the person nor the environment?
And if so - why don't we see those more on the shelves...
"
Plain soap and water will do the job. Advertising (please note one "d" so the abbreviation of advert is "ad.") has brainwashed people into forgetting this.

Anyway, if it's any consollation I'm not nearly as irritated by your post as by the TV show that's on shortly.
"Beauty Addicts; how toxic are you"
which will rattle on about how the world is full of chemicals and how they might be toxic. At least here there's someone to put the counterpoint.



You might want top have a look here
http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/pdf/MakingSenseofChemicalStories.pdf
« Last Edit: 13/10/2007 16:48:00 by Bored chemist »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #17 on: 15/10/2007 17:29:11 »
No probs about using any of my topics or subject headings if you like them it's a plus from me :)

Shampoos that Purposely Contain Very High Amounts of Estrogen

African Americans favored shampoos with clinically active high doses of estrogen. They also used them on their children. In 1998 Tiwary, now retired, published a study of four girls - including a 14-month-old - who developed breasts or pubic hair months after beginning to use such products. The symptoms started to disappear when they stopped using them. The year before, he published a study showing that some of the products used by his patients contained up to one milligram (1 mg) of estradiol per one ounce of shampoo. By comparison a normal adult topical skin dose for estradiol is 0.02-0.05 mg/day. This means that one ounce of shampoo contains 50 times the daily ADULT dose of estradiol. A small handful of this shampoo on your child every day may give her OR HIM breasts! See the article here.

Shampoos Contain Clinical Doses of Estrogen

 

Early Puberty linked to Shampoos Containing Estrogen

April 03, 2002 19:00

Exclusive from New Scientist http://www.fibrocystic.com/shampoo.htm
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #18 on: 15/10/2007 19:13:47 »
!!
What do the makers think they are doing?
 

Offline deepthinker

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #19 on: 20/10/2007 17:32:28 »
In recent channel 4 program aimed at non scientists called Beauty Addicts: How toxic are you?, Alastair Hay, (Professor of Environmental Toxicology, at Leeds University?) is quoted as saying:
'We can probably look at individual chemicals and say that they're only there in very low amounts. But there are hundreds if not thousands of these chemicals in very low amounts that we're exposed to, and we have little idea about the effects that this mixture is having on us'.

He seemed to me to be supporting the concept of the program ie that many of the chemicals in cosmetics and cleaning solutions were accumulating in our bodies and may could easily cause long term harm.

Has he been mis-quoted? Is he mad? Are his colleagues and peers publicly saying he is wrong?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #20 on: 20/10/2007 18:01:22 »
Technically, what he said was "we don't really know" which is correct. Of course, since we now live longer healthier lives than our ancestors it's fairly safe to say that these chemicals are not actually harmful.
The real question is whether we are more likely to be harmed by the 2 dozen "articicial" chemicals in a shampoo or the hugely greater number of natural chemicals we are exposed to. Again the answer is that we don't really know. However since that program kept going on about the number of chemical exposuers they really ought to have enumerated the natural chemicals too.
One particulaly blatat example of fiddling the figures was to take the 2 women, estimate the exposure each woman got- the guess they came up with was 2500 synthetic chemicals which might be close enough. Then they added the 2 numbers together and said that the 2 women were exposed to 5000 chemicals.
That's such poor science it should have been banned. Why mislead the public that way?
Also we really need to know what is in the natural stuff.
Someone might be bothered to know that there's limonene in their shampoo but be quite happy to know that it has lemon oil in it.
OK here's a chromatogram showing how many things there are in that oil
http://www.restek.com/restek/images/external/gc_ff00138.pdf
for those of you who don't know about chromatography that graph is the result of unmixing the components and plotting the amount vs how long it too to separate. In practical terms
each chemical gives a spike in the graph. On the right are the 38 chemicals they have identified. If you look there are also other peaks that they don't know what they are.

By far the biggest peak is limonene but there are a whole lot of other chemicals there. These are just as likely to cause problems as any man made chemical.
Wouldn't you be better off with nice pure limonene rather than some random mix of about 50 chemicals?
Just to show there's nothing magic about lemons, here's some spearmint oil.
http://www.restek.com/restek/images/external/gc_ff00140.pdf
and whiskey
http://www.restek.com/restek/images/external/GC_FF00603.PDF
 

Offline deepthinker

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #21 on: 20/10/2007 18:57:38 »
Cheers Bored Chemist

Can you clarify a few points for me though? You say these chemicals must be ok as we live longer, but I thought many of these chemicals were fairly new?

How do we differentiate between a 'natural chemical' and a synthetic one?

Some people have suggested that our bodies have evolved over centuries to deal with chemicals found naturally as they have been present in one form or another in nature, but some of the newer ones accumulate as our bodies cannot deal with them.
 

Offline DrDick

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #22 on: 22/10/2007 16:51:18 »

How do we differentiate between a 'natural chemical' and a synthetic one?


It depends on how you mean that.  If you mean the difference between the natural and synthetic version of a chemical, then the answer is that the the chemical itself is identical.  The difference lies in the impurities.  That can be an important difference.

For instance, the only difference between natural vanilla and "artificial" vanilla is all the other stuff in there besides the vanilla, which can affect the flavor.  The difference between a natural drug and a synthetic drug is the other stuff that can be in there.

Check out the Sean Connery movie, "Medicine Man" sometime.  Much of the science in the movie is laughable, but one important premise remains.  He has identified a chemical found in a fruit as having anti-cancer.  To find it and isolate it, he cleans up the fruit of all the bugs and what-not, but can't find the chemical any more.  It's not until the end of the movie (too late, since the rain forest is being clear-cut) that he finds out that the chemical is actually due to one of the bugs that he was so careful to exclude from the fruit.

Dick
 

Offline DrDick

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #23 on: 22/10/2007 17:17:12 »
By the way, was your shampoo a "conditioning shampoo"?

The "polyquaternium" is a conditioning agent.

Other ingredients:

SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) are both common surfactants found in personal care formulas.  SLS is better at cleaning oil - too good, actually, which is why it's more irritating and is blended with SLES.  SLS and SLES are actually not single compounds, but complex mixtures of different materials.  The "lauryl" part technically means a 12-carbon chain, but this is actually just an average number.  It's a mixture of C8, C10, C12, C14, etc.  "Laureth" is a contraction of "lauryl ether".  They take "lauryl" alcohol and react it with ethylene oxide (EO) to make a polyether.  There's often a number after the "laureth" part that is an average number of EO groups per lauryl alcohol.  So, laureth-2-sulfate means that, on average, each lauryl alcohol has reacted with two molecules of EO.  Of course, this means that there's some laureth-0 (which is the same as SLS), some laureth-1, some laureth-2, etc.

SXS (sodium xylene sulfonate) is not used as a surfactant per se.  It is present to help make the surfactants more water-soluble.  It is often called a hydrotrope.  Hydrotropes don't micellize like surfactants do.

As has been mentioned before, citric acid and sodium citrate are there to control the pH.  The citrate neutralizes extra acid and the citric acid neutralizes extra base.  You can control the pH pretty well by varying the ratio of citric acid to citrate.

Sodium chloride (normal table salt) - the main purpose of this is as a viscosity adjuster.  With no salt, the formulation is very runny.  Add a little salt and it thickens very nicely.  Add too much salt and it turns runny again.

EDTA is there to trap the calcium present in most tap waters, to prevent the formation of soap scum.

PEG and PPG materials are often used as "pearlizing" agents - they are insoluble in water, so make the shampoo opaque, but they also give the shampoo a pleasant sheen that many people like.  Harmless.

I used to work in the industry years ago.  The company I worked for didn't make any finished products, but instead made many of the ingredients that went into them (such as SLS, SLES, SXS and many others).

Dick
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #24 on: 22/10/2007 17:49:13 »
Look what happened to the wildlife in Africa when a tanker load of shampoo spilled into a nearby water hole



 

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Re: What’s in your shampoo?
« Reply #24 on: 22/10/2007 17:49:13 »

 

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