Hi everyone, 
I was wondering if ingredients like  Sodium cocoyl isethionate can be contaminated with carcinogens.

Also, does methyl  in lauroyl/myristoyl methyl glucamide mean ethoxylated?



  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Anything can be contaminated with carcinogens. That doesn't mean they are. Just having the syllable "-eth" in an ingredient name does not mean the product causes cancer. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is safe to use in cosmetics. See the safety report on it

    No, "methyl" does not mean ethoxylated.  Methyl means -CH3  
    Ethoxylated materials refer to -CH2-CH3 containing compounds. 
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Perry said:
    ... -CH2-CH3... 
    More precisely, it's (-O-CH2-CH2-)nOH (as usual, me being nitpicking).
    Ethoxylated compounds are synthesised with ethylene oxide which in turn is a possible/likely carcinogen. It's a gas and proper synthesis and work-up will remove it. However, the limits for ethylene oxide are very low and hence, it may happen that traces remain. What's currently happening more often than contaminated cosmetic grade ethoxylated ingredients are organic sesame seeds from India being contaminated with it because in India, it's okay to fumigate food with ethylene oxide (it's super easy to use and kills everything from bugs over bacteria to fungi and even spores). We had several product recalls from different manufacturers down to consumer level because fumigated sesame seeds were found in breakfast cereals and the like. Consumers were most likely never at risk, it's just that in Europe there's a zero tolerance for ethylene oxide in food.
  • Thanks so much for all your answers. @Pharma sesame seed story is very alarming. Thankyou for that!

    So, Methyl is not ethoxylated??? like sodium cocoyl methyl taurate?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Right. Sodium Cocoyl Methyl Taurate is not ethoxylated.
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