Bubbles Doesn’t Equal Clean
Since liberalization in the ‘90s, our homes have seen a massive spurt of detergents in the form of shampoos, soaps, clothes washing powders, utensil wash soaps and liquids among others. Let’s face it – the lather gives you some satisfaction that the product is doing its cleaning job alright. But, take a look at this picture?
If lather meant “clean”, don’t you think this lake in Bengaluru is super pristine? Absolutely not.
Lather doesn’t indicate cleaning power, but a lot of people think it does. It plays on their psyche, but all that is happening is soap molecules are simply trapping air in spherical pockets. Trapped air doesn’t clean – the soap molecules do. Regardless, many advertisers and soap manufacturers add chemicals, specifically to create bubbles and lead you to believe in their cleaning power.
What Causes the Lather?
Soaps and detergents contain chemicals called foaming agents. The most common ones used in consumer products are ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium Laureth sulfate (SLS and SLES). Beyond acting as foaming agents, these ingredients also work as surfactants and reduce the surface tension of water. This allows the dirt to break up and be washed away. However, there are several concerns when it comes to sulfates, because Sulfates derived from petroleum are a controversial issue due to their long-term side effects on the planet. Petroleum products are associated with climate change, pollution, and greenhouse gasses. Apart from these, there are major concerns when it comes to sulfates:
Are sulfates good for you?
Sulfates derived from petroleum are a controversial issue due to their long-term side effects on the planet. Petroleum products are associated with climate change, pollution, and greenhouse gases. Apart from these, there are major concerns when it comes to sulfates:
SLS and SLES can cause irritation in the eyes, skin, and lungs, especially with long-term use. SLES may also be contaminated with a substance (dioxane), which has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. This contamination has been found to occur during the manufacturing process.
Products that contain sulfates are known to get washed down the drain and may also be toxic to aquatic animals. To save the environment, both users, as well as manufacturers, should opt for more planet-friendly, clean and green ingredients.
In the past, many products with sulfates were tested on animals to measure the level of irritation to people’s skin, lungs, and eyes. Although this practice has reduced, there are still many manufacturers who opt for animal testing. For this reason, a lot of people oppose using consumer goods with sulfates.