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By Devane Sharma

Soap, the humble surface cleaning agent or “surfactants” we are all familiar with have a long and diverse history. The earliest accounts of personal cleaning agents date back to the third millennium BC which were made using animal fats mixed with wood ash and water. Surfactants possess both lipophilic (oil loving) and hydrophilic (water loving) characteristics. The lipophilic end engulfs the dirt, while the hydrophilic end helps lift the dirt away from the skin.

Five thousand years on, advances in chemistry have opened up a world of possibilities for formulating cleaning solutions. New types of surfactants with increased mildness, resistance to hard water, and low temperature solubility enabled formulators to meet the differing needs of consumers.

In response to upgrade the safety profiles of household cleaning and personal care products, New York is banning the sale of those containing more than 1 ppm of 1,4-dioxane at the end of 2023. It is a byproduct in the manufacturing of some surfactants and emulsifiers classified by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals¹.” Musim Mas’ Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) are derived from vegetable oils. Free of 1,4-dioxane, these are safe and reliable solutions that deliver a lower carbon footprint. They are also listed with CleanGredients® as part of the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice program and comply with USP and EP monographs.

One Ingredient: A Thousand Opportunities

Palm is used in almost 50% of packaged products in supermarkets, ranging from pizzas and confectionary to cleaning products. Palm oil is highly versatile, resistant to oxidation, and stable at high temperatures. Globally, palm oil supplies 40% of the world’s vegetable oil demand with just under 6% of the land used to produce all vegetable oils. It is an incredibly efficient crop, producing way more oil than other vegetable oil crops for the same land area.

We would need 5 to 8 times more land to produce the same volume of alternative oils to meet the increasing consumption, which may affect more habitats and communities.

From palm oil, Musim Mas produces raw materials for home and personal care cleaning ranging from high-quality oleochemicals (fatty acids, fatty alcohols, glycerin) to their derivatives (surfactants, soap noodles, esters, and emulsifiers).

We are also proud to be a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2004 and the first palm oil major to be verified by the more stringent standards of the Palm Oil Innovation Group in 2019. We are therefore able to offer RSPO certified palm oil derivatives. With our stringent process controls and integrated supply chain, we ensure a high degree of control for product safety and quality. Other certification and origin requirements such as Kosher, Halal, and Non-GMO can also be met.

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1: National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens, Fifteenth Edition