Lubrizol has been a supplier of high quality, low color, low odor surfactants for over 30 years. The range of Lubrizol products, its knowledgeable professional staff, and comprehensive research and product development provide formulators with valuable resources to meet their formulation needs and to find innovative solutions to support their growth. Sulfochem™ alkyl sulfates (AS) and alkyl ether sulfates (AES) are also known by their International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) names such as ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, magnesium lauryl sulfate, sodium cocosulfate, TEA-lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium myreth sulfate, sodium myreth sulfate, and sodium trideceth sulfate.
Sulfochem™ AS and AES are used by the personal care, household, agriculture, oilfield, mining, coatings and lubricant industries. Their properties make them particularly well-suited for use in shampoos, bath and shower products, body cleansing products, manual dish detergents, wallboard foamers, laundry products, hard surface cleaners, food processing, emulsion polymerization, drilling foamers, and agricultural foamers and wetting agents. Some products are especially effective in cleansing systems with pH as low as 5, providing high foam, excellent viscosity, and good detergency and mildness. They also provide cost-effective options for a variety of personal cleaning products.
Sulfochem™ AS and AES are anionic surfactants that are very soluble in water and have a low vapor pressure. Viscosities range from low (less than 300 centipoise at 25° C) to moderate (less than 12,000 centipoise at 25° C). Sulfochem™ sulfates are generally stable in alkaline pH. They are not compatible with cationics due to the formation of complexes that decrease surfactant effectiveness.
These substances have been well-studied in animals and humans, and their safety has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel and other expert groups. Because of their low vapor pressure and intended applications, dermal contact is the primary exposure route, and skin and eye irritation are the primary health concerns. The CIR reports concluded that these substances are safe for use in cosmetics with some limitations. For sodium and ammonium lauryl sulfate the CIR concluded that products intended for prolonged contact with the skin should not contain more than a 1 percent concentrations of these ingredients. In the amended CIR for sodium and ammonium laureth sulfate and related salts such as sodium myreth sulfate, the expert panel noted that, while formulations are not regularly seen to be irritating, these ingredients should only be used when formulated to be nonirritating. For TEA-lauryl sulfate, the panel concluded that formulations should not exceed a concentration of 10.5%. The CIR expert panel concluded that sodium cetearyl sulfate and related alkyl sulfates are safe in soaps and shampoos at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 29% as described in the report.
The environmental hazards of alkyl and alkyl ether sulfates have been well-studied in vertebrate and invertebrate species. Alkyl chain length is the most important determinant of aquatic toxicity. Invertebrates are the most sensitive species to AS followed by fish and algae. A chronic invertebrate study of AS with chain lengths of C12 to C18 indicates that the C14 chain length is the most toxic. AS are readily biodegradable and are not expected to bioaccumulate. For AES fish appear to be somewhat more sensitive than invertebrates while algae are less sensitive. AES also are readily biodegradable and are not expected to bioaccumulate. While limited information is available on terrestrial species, toxic effects are only expected at high concentrations.
Cosmetics are regulated by the health authority in most countries. There are no specific approved lists for cosmetic ingredients such as Sulfochem™ AS and AES. The competent authorities rely on the cosmetic manufacturers to ensure the safety of their products. In turn, the cosmetic manufacturers rely on their suppliers, the CIRs, and INCI, the international body that establishes chemical ingredient names, to help establish safety and for ingredient names that must be on the labels. Sulfochem™ AS and AES are subject to the European Commission REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances) regulation. The registration and Chemical Safety Reports for these substances will be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by Lubrizol in accordance with the specified reporting deadlines. As noted in Lubrizol safety data sheets, Sulfochem™ AS and AES have gained acceptance in major industrialized countries through global notifications.
Sulfochem™ AS and AES are sold to customers who manufacture personal care, household, agricultural and industrial products. Based on their physical properties and intended uses, human and environmental exposures may occur. The primary potential route of exposure for workers and consumers is dermal contact although inhalation exposure may occur if aerosols or mist are generated during use. Fugacity modeling with a number of the Sulfochem™ AS and AES indicates that soil and water are the primary compartments impacted from environmental release with about three to four times more occurring in soil compared to water.
Information on the safe handling of these products is provided through material safety data sheets to workers who make the products and who formulate products. These documents provide a broad range of safety information including hazard warnings and recommendations on exposure controls. They note that engineering controls are needed to control exposures and specify what personal protective equipment is needed.
During the manufacture of these products, engineering controls and work practices are used to minimize exposure to aerosols, mist, or vapors and liquid. Good industrial hygiene practices, gloves and eye protection are used to avoid skin and eye contact and the irritating effects of these substances. Spill control procedures are also noted.
Sulfochem™ AS and AES provide manufacturers of personal care, household, agricultural, and industrial products with valuable resources to find innovative solutions to meet their formulation needs. They are particularly well-suited for use in shampoos, bath and shower products, body cleansing products, manual dish detergents, wallboard foamers, laundry products, hard surface cleaner, food processing, emulsion polymerization, drilling foamers, and agricultural foamers and wetting agents. The human and environmental effects of Sulfochem™ AS and AES have been well-studied in animals and humans, and their safety has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel and other expert groups. Because of their low vapor pressure and intended applications, dermal contact is the primary exposure route for workers and consumers, and skin and eye irritation are the primary health concerns. Environmental releases are toxic to aquatic organisms; high concentrations of Sulfochem™ AS and AES in the soil are expected to be toxic to terrestrial animals. The use of engineering controls and personal protective equipment and the implementation of spill prevention procedures are key to risk management.