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Tetrasodium EDTA

Veterinarian Reviewed on January 6, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Tetrasodium EDTA


Tetrasodium EDTA, which actually stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, may also be referred to as edetate sodium, tetrasodium salt, tetrasodium edetate and many other terms used in many other industries. The main property of tetrasodium EDTA is to decrease the reactivity of metal ions in a product, which makes it an important ingredient when making soaps. To make it simpler, this chemical is used to make hard water soft.

As you use soaps and cleansers to wash dirt and grime, these products also attract metal ions that are usually found in hard water. Tetrasodium EDTA is added to these skin care products to neutralize the effect of metal ions for soaps and cleansing agents to become more effective.

History and Origin

Tetrasodium EDTA is produced synthetically for industrial purposes in the laboratory. Its use as a chelating agent for soaps and shampoos make it an indispensable ingredient. It is definitely important to consider that not all water sources are the same everywhere you go in the word today. Hard water may affect the way soap and other cleaners remove dirt and grime. Thus tetrasodium EDTA is needed to improve upon the quality of soaps and detergents.

Ancient Use

During ancient times, tetrasodium EDTA was unheard of but skin care and hair care was already a routine among many women throughout the different ancient civilizations. Spices, oils, Herbs and fruit extracts were often used to cleanse the skin and hair.

Modern Uses

During today’s more modern times, tetrasodium EDTA is used primarily to make soap and other personal care products to work even when hard water is present. This principle is known as chelation, wherein chemicals such as tetrasodium EDTA are added to soap and shampoos to neutralize the metal ions that make water hard. Soaps, shampoos, conditioning agents, hand soaps and bubble baths contain this chemical to make them bubble and remove dirt effectively.
Aside from soaps and shampoos, it is also used in a variety of different cosmetics because of its property as a “penetration enhancer” and is considered safe to use as an ingredient in cosmetics by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert panel. It is also added to food in limited amounts to enhance the flavor and shelf life of the foods.

Side Effects

There are no known side effects of tetrasodium EDTA. It is deemed safe to use as an additive to cosmetics so long as it is used in limited or certain required amounts set forth by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert panel. In limited amounts as well, it is safe to use in foods according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Although tetrasodium EDTA is safe to use in personal care products and in cosmetics, there is a small percentage of the population that may be sensitive to this chemical. If you experience any untoward effects such as skin irritation, rashes or inflammation after using personal care products that do contain tetrasodium EDTA, it is advised to discontinue using the product right away.

If you have extra sensitive skin, consider consulting with your dermatologist for the most appropriate skin care product to use. Young children and infants who have sensitive skin should consult a dermatologist as well for the right kind of product to use for their skin and hair care.

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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