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Tetrasodium EDTA

* A water softener and preservative

* Please read TIA's post on What Is It: Preservatives and Parabens and Are They Safe

Functions of Tetrasodium EDTA:

Tetrasodium EDTA is a water-soluble ingredient used as a chelating agent in cosmetics and personal care products because of its ability to sequester metal ions and allow them to remain in formulas but lose their ability to react with other ingredients. This ability allows it to not only soften water, but preserve formulas as well by improving its stability when it is exposed to air and prevent microbial growth (Wikipedia).

According to, Tetrasodium EDTA works best in products containing alkaline metals, often found in soaps. It can prevent the potential defoaming action of hard ions, reduce soap scum and improve lather and foaming action.

Tetrasodium EDTA is FDA approved and CIR approved with concentration limits.

Safety Measures/Side Effects of Tetrasodium EDTA:

The Cosmetics Database considers Tetrasodium EDTA a low to moderate hazard ingredient, depending on its usage. It notes concerns regarding cancer, enhanced skin absorption, organ system toxicity and irritation (due to animal studies that showed skin irritation at low doses). It is classified as a high human health priority and expected to be toxic or harmful.

However, tests done by the CIR (which are not corroborated) found that Tetrasodium EDTA is not a dermal irritant or a sensitizer, and is not absorbed by skin easily. "Because these ingredients bind metals required for normal cell division, some studies that indicated that these compounds were weakly mutagenic. Some studies showed reproductive and developmental effects following oral exposure to large doses of metal chelators, likely an effect of the binding of metals required for normal reproduction and development" ( It found that cosmetics and personal care products containing these ingredients would result in very little skin penetration and systemic levels well below those shown to produce adverse effects in oral studies.

Tetrasodium EDTA has been found to be an ecotoxin, however. "Widespread use of EDTA and its slow removal under many environmental conditions has led to its status as the most abundant anthropogenic compound in many European surface waters ... and has emerged as a persistent organic pollutant" (Wikipedia).

Recommended Products With Tetrasodium EDTA:

Lumavera Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($80 in the shop), Retrospect Flash Firm Eye Gel ($70), Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel: Full Strength ($45), Nutra-Lift Brite & Lite ($34 in the shop), Lumixyl Topical Brightening Creme ($120), Myo Essentials Restorative Marine Moisturizer ($32), NCN Pro Skin Multi-Active Accelerator ($54)

As much as possible, products in the Truth In Aging shop are chosen for their safety profile as well as effectiveness.

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