Updated: Jul 26, 2018
Chemical of the Week: Tetrasodium ETDA (Tet-tra-so-de-um)
What is it?
Tetrasodium ETDA is a preservative used in many skin care products. It's made from ethylenediamine, (Say that three times fast) formaldehyde (a carcinogen according to the National Cancer Institute), and sodium cyanide which is produced from toxic hydrogen cyanide gases. (Yep) The three ingredients are used to synthesize ETDA, then tetrasodium is derived from that.
What's the harm?
Tetrasodium is a penetrator. It breaks down the skin's natural protection layer allowing potentially harmful ingredients such as itself and all the other lovely chemicals to seep deeper into your tissues and even the blood stream adding on to the daily toxic buildup that may eventually show itself in the future.
This water soluble ingredient is used as a chelator (Key-late-tor) which means it binds to certain minerals making them inactive. As a preservative, it prevents the growth of mold and microorganisms, protects the synthetic fragrance compounds, and helps the product work better in hard water.
You can find this lovely in moisturizers, cleansing products, bath soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes and bleaches, packaged foods, vitamins, and yes, even in baby food.
There have been cases of consumers developing eczema after using creams with tetrasodium EDTA and it's a know eye irritant. It's also slow to degrade making this ingredient a poor choice for environmental health.
In a nutshell, this synthetic lab made preservative may cause issues in the long run especially within the slurry of other delectable toxin stirred together and placed in an innocent package claiming "Natural" "Moisturizing" and "Sensitive Skin". Is this worth putting on/in you?