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Bath Soaps--consumer information

Bath Soaps--consumer information

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A brief article providing scientifc and technical information on bath soaps for a consumer or general reader.This helps to select soaps properly .the article highlights the harmful effects of some addititves, other factors and animal based ingredients too.It provides scitifc information on moisturizers widely added in soaps,medician qualties fo herbal soaps.
A brief article providing scientifc and technical information on bath soaps for a consumer or general reader.This helps to select soaps properly .the article highlights the harmful effects of some addititves, other factors and animal based ingredients too.It provides scitifc information on moisturizers widely added in soaps,medician qualties fo herbal soaps.

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Published by: Dr Srinivasan Nenmeli -K on Aug 01, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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07/09/2014

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Bath Soaps—Basic information for consumers
Dr N K Srinivasan
Dear friends,Bath soaps are the most common health product usedthroughout the world and used by almost all people,,that is, about 6 billion people on Earth…leave outsome Australian and African aborigines.
Among mass produced commercial items , soaps come first.Billions of cakes are made every year, either in modernfactories or in small scale rural industries.. Such a commoncommercial item needs critical study which has been lackingin the modern ad-driven market society. 
This brief article is meant to provide you with basic information so that you, as a consumer, may buy soapswith better discretion.
The soap market, in any country is heavily advertised innewspapers,magazines [print media] and radio and ,of course TV. The soap commercials dominate afternoon TVprograms when housewives watch drama-serials---nowonder they are called ‘soap operas’—mostly family orientedstories of joy and sorrow, friendship and jealousy and soon.Introduce soap products then and they are bound to sellwell!What is more, these soaps are endorsed in TV commercialsby movie stars , top sportsmen and cricketers in India….Indeed a good source of income for aging stars and formerplayers.Now we get into the main topics.A bit of chemistry first.
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1 What is a soap?Soap is actually a salt.You know from school chemistry thatwhen an acid and alkali or base react, we get salt and water.For instance: hydrochloric acid reacted with sodiumhydroxide produces sodium chloride or common salt andwater:HCl + NaOH -> NaCl + H-H-O A soap is produced in the same way using a fatty [organic]acid: Fatty acid + base
soap + waterThe base is also called alkali by some chemists and alsocalled ‘lye’ by old-time soap makers.The soap may be made reacting a fatty acid at roomtemperature [called ‘cold process’] or at elevatedtemperatures [called ‘hot process’] with alkali--sodiumhydroxide.The fatty acid is usually a vegetable oil [coconut oil, olive oil,palm oil] or animal fat ,called tallow. While tallow [fromslaughter houses] ,is cheap, veg oils are costly. Again youcan choose a cheaper veg oil .If you are a vegan, nottouching meat products, check the label of the soap you buy.If it includes tallow, avoid that brand of soap. In India ,almost all soaps are made from cheap vegetable oils.2What is TFM?TFM means “total fatty matter” in the soap. It is the ratioof mass of fatty matter to the total mass of the soap.In India , manufacturers must print the value of TFM onthe wrapper or carton.
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TFM is the one single important factor affecting the qualityof the soap .It should be greater that 60% to qualify forbeing labeled ‘soap’.Higher the TFM% ,better the quality.Grade 2 soaps contain 65 % to 80% TFM, whether theyare called ‘poor man’s soap’ or luxury /beauty soapGrade 1 soaps have TFM greater than 76%, without anyfillers.Note that there are very few soaps that have more than80% TFM in the market---check the label.Most soaps have around 70% TFM.A quick guess is the type of packaging used. if the soaphas a wrapper, it is low cost soap with TFM <70% in mostcases. A slightly better quality soap comes in acarton,with special paper wrapper inside….Again check thelabel for TFM marking.While there may not be much difference in qualitybetween two soaps with 72% and 75% TFM, you willperceive that there is a big difference in quality betweentwo soaps with say 65% and 75% TFM….. Note that some makers call their soaps “bathing bars”---then they need not display the TFM! --- a clever methodindeed.!!A short table of soaps with their TFM available in Indiais shown here:Brand name TFM %Savlon-glycerine 61[grade 3]Lifebuoy care 65Margo 71Lux International 72Liril 2000 73Fa-aqua 73Dettol Cool 74
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