Jessica Alba's Honest Company Disputes Claims That Detergent Contains Certain Chemical

A study of the brand’s laundry detergent claims it contains SLS.

ByABC NEWS via logo
March 11, 2016, 12:13 PM

— -- Jessica Alba’s Honest Company is firing back at The Wall Street Journal after two studies commissioned by the newspaper reportedly determined that the brand's laundry detergent contains an ingredient that the company had claimed consumers should avoid.

The compound, called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), is reportedly found in many common household products, including Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste and Dawn dish detergent. Procter & Gamble says SLS “is safe…when used as directed.”

The Journal published an article this week, reporting that two independent lab tests found SLS in the detergent.

“Our findings support that there is a significant amount of sodium lauryl sulfate in Honest’s detergent,” Barbara Pavan, a chemist at Impact Analytical, told the paper.

The article also stated that another lab, Chemir, a division of EAG Inc., said its test for SLS found more than a "trace amount” in the company's product, according to Matthew Hynes, a chemist at Chemir who conducted the test.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to SLS may cause a cough or sore throat if inhaled; nausea, vomiting or diarrhea if ingested; and redness if exposed to skin or eyes.

The CDC also says “repeated or prolonged contact with skin may cause dermatitis,” or skin inflammation.

The company, which was founded by Alba and Christopher Gavigan in 2011, said it does not use the chemical in its detergent and is standing by its mission to offer products that are safe and eco-friendly.

“Despite providing The Wall Street Journal with substantial evidence to the contrary, they falsely claimed our laundry detergent contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS),” according to a statement provided to ABC News by Honest. “To set the record straight, we use Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) in our brand's laundry detergent because it is a gentler alternative that is less irritating and safer to use. Rigorous testing and analysis both by our internal research and development teams as well as further testing by external partners have confirmed this fact."

In response, Steve Severinghaus, director of communications for The Journal, told ABC News: “The journal’s report is accurate, fair and meets the journal’s established and trusted high standards. We took great care in preparing this story, relying on two tests with two different labs and numerous experts.”

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