How toxic is sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate or Sodium dodecyl sulfate (Abbreviation: SLS from the engl. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, SDS from the engl. Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate) is a monoester of sulfuric acid, consisting of a long-chain (C.12) Alkyl group and a modified sulfate anion with a sodium cation. It is an anionic surfactant that is used as a detergent.

Extraction and presentation

SDS can be obtained by esterifying dodecanol with sulfuric acid, chlorosulfonic acid or sulfur trioxide and then neutralizing it. The addition of sulfuric acid to 1-dodecene is also possible.


SDS is considered to be allergenic and skin irritant, which is why its use in cosmetics is controversial. In particular, the cause of aphthous ulcers in the oral cavity by SDS-containing toothpastes is observed by people with special sensitivity. However, SDS has an antibacterial and antiviral effect. To what extent it is able to destroy HI viruses, as has been claimed [2], remains to be clarified.


SDS is used as a cleansing component in most shampoos and shower gels. In addition, SDS is used as an emulsifier in ointments and lotions as well as cleaning agents.

The intensive use as a denaturant for proteins is one reason for the importance of SDS in higher concentrations for biotechnology. The effect on proteins is based on the fact that non-covalent bonds of the proteins are broken and their quaternary and tertiary structure is destroyed. SDS binds in a ratio of approx. 1.4 / 1 g. Due to the fact that they form micelles, SDS protein solutions cannot be dialyzed; SDS can be removed by precipitation reactions with organic solvents (see Henderson, 1979).

In analysis, SDS is used in polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) (see Laemmli, 1970).


Epton titration

See also


  • L. E. Henderson, S. Oroszlan, W. Konigsberg: A Micromethod for Complete Removal of Dodecyl Sulfate from Proteins by Ion-Pair Extraction, Analytical Biochemistry 93, 153-157, 1979
  • U. K. Laemmli: Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4, Nature 227, 680-5, 1970.


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Categories: Flammable Substance | Harmful substance | Ester | Sulfur compound | Sodium compound | Pharmaceutical excipient | Surfactant