Spring Beekeeping Workshop

Spring Beekeeping Workshop
Demonstration Hive

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Home Made Soap

On Saturday, 10 March, we hosted Erin Zaffis, by profession an obstetric nurse, and by avocation a talented crafter of healthy home made soap products.  Here is some important information she shared during the workshop about the toxic ingredients commonly found in soap, both hard soap and liquid soap, and personal and household soap:

Some common ingredients in conventional soap:

DiethanolamineTriethanolamine, Sudsing agents( known carcinogens), Sodium Laurel Sulfate(SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) (MSDS)
Potentially, SLS is perhaps the most harmful ingredient in personal-care products. SLS is used in testing-labs as the standard skin irritant to compare the healing properties of other ingredients. Industrial uses of SLS include: garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash soaps. Studies show its danger potential to be great, when used in personal-care products. Research has shown that SLS and SLES may cause potentially carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins to form in the bottles of shampoos and cleansers by reacting with commonly used ingredients found in many products. Large amounts of nitrates may enter the blood system from just one shampooing.

Mineral Oil (Petrolatum, Petroleum) Comes from crude oil (petroleum) used in industry as metal cutting fluid. May suffocate the skin by forming an oil film. Healthy skin needs to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. This process should not be inhibited. Holding large amounts of moisture in the skin can "flood" the biology, and may result in immature, unhealthy, sensitive skin that dries out easily.

Formaldahyde (Formalin)  banned in Sweden and Japan, can cause allergic reactions when absorbed into the skin including asthma, headaches.

Cocamide and Lauramide DEA are found in soaps, cleansers, and shampoos: DEA and its compounds cause mild to moderate skin and eye irritation. In laboratory experiments, exposure to high doses of these chemicals has been shown to cause liver cancers and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid.

Because of an FDA loophole, cosmetic companies can hide a whole slew of chemicals, many of which are phthalates, under the label “fragrance.” Phthalates are known as "endocrine disruptors" because they mimic the body's hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage.
Today, on NPR's show, On Point, interviewed researchers from The Silent Spring Institute who have been conducting extensive research into these and many more chemicals that are all around us in our homes and in the products we use. 

Watching Erin demonstrate making her soap has convinced me that this is an easy and fun thing to do.  Instructions are all over the web when you start looking.  Erin showed the class how to safely work with a key soap ingredient that is absolutely necessary if you want bar soap, as opposed to liquid soap.  That ingredient is lye.  Potentially dangerous if not used carefully, Erin showed how easy and safe it is to work with when a few simple precautions are followed.  It is always important to weat eye protection in case the lye water mixture fizzes up quickly, and rubber gloves to protect against caustic splashes on the skin.  However, the mixing looked easy, no amateur chemistry set disasters and anyone who can safely cook, can do this. 

Erin shared the following on-line video for information on making soap: http://www.monkeysee.com/play/10160-how-to-make-soap and also encouraged people to visit her on Facebook:  http://ww.facebook.com/erinzaffis and her blog at http://thegreenbikeblog.blogspot.com/.

Why buy into the toxic corporate conspiracy when you can make your own beautiful soap at home with clean, healthy ingredients, some of which you can grow yourself?  Have fun!