Debra Lynn Dadd



Hi, Debra!

I am really puzzled about one ingredient, which often occurs even in the most natural labeled products (mainly lip/ chap sticks): lanolin. Do you consider it a safe ingredient or not? (since it is never specified what kind of sheep they use as a source- I only know that they are not being harmed in the process)

I am not a vegan myself, but am concerned about contaminations or different tratments those sheeps might go through...



POSTED BY DANA :: FLORIDA USA :: 06/01/2009 2:42 PM


Here's a webpage that explains about lanolin--what it is and how it is obtained--which is consistent with my understanding: Sheepish Grins: Lanolin.

You bring up a good point. "Natural" means only that the ingredient is or came from a plant, animal or mineral (not petroleum). But it indicates nothing about the purity of the ingredient. Natural ingredients can be grown with pesticides and may contain other contaminants. This is why the movement toward organically grown ingredients in skin care products.

I consider lanolin to be a safe, natural ingredient. Any pesticides that may have been used on the sheep are filtered out of the lanolin to make pharmaceutical grade.

Debra :-)


Lanolin is often recommended as the safest product for nursing moms and sore nipples. If naturopaths are recommending it for a newborn babies lips, then I would deem it safe for yours.


Sheep are dipped in fat-soluble pesticides. Lanolin, even purified lanolin, is a fatty substance that is probably still loaded with pesticides, possibly even the pharmacutical grade. I would not trust it without seeing tests for pesticides that could detect them in the parts per million or parts per billlion range.

Lanolin is quite allergenic. It is not at all hypoallergenic. I would never use it on a baby's skin, nor mouth. Better to use fresh, organic edible coconut or other food oils.

(I am a Ph.D. Biochemist, and my father held many patents on modifying lanolin so that it became hypoallergenic, but these products were only available as ingredients for cosmetics.) Maybe try a baby product with "modified lanolin" such as:
Medela® Tender Care Lanolin, but I know nothing about it and cannot vouch for it.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: Some sheep are now raised organically, without the pesticide dip, but if this is not clearly stated on the label or in the product description, you should assume that pesticides are used. Lanolin is quite allergenic, yes, to those who are allergic to it. Many people do use lanolin with no reaction.


It's not true that wool involves no harm to the sheep. Most wool comes from sheep raised for slaughter, often transported by ship in very cruel conditions. Unless you're getting your wool from a known supplier who only gently shears the sheep, you're probably contributing to animal suffering by buying wool products.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA:I think it is important to have better labeling on wool products. I do know, for example, that the wool used in Shpeherd's Dream products comes from well-cared-for, gently sheared sheep, but you are correct that a lot of wool comes from sheep slaughtered for food.

My viewpoint on this is that the sheep are slaughtered for food and not for the wool. If we don't use the wool, it goes to waste. In native cultures that lived on the land, animals were used for a wide variety of purposes and ALL parts of the animal were used, out of respect to the animal and the resources of the land. For me, to use the wool from slaughtered animals is consistent with this philosophy. I don't think we will stop the slaughter of lambs for meat by refusing to use their wool. This is my opinion on the matter.

POSTED BY JT :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 06/09/2009 9:41 AM

I got this information off of a website on google. This is what I got.Lanolin
Used in all types of cosmetics. Lanolin is a natural wax coating on sheep wool and is removed by boiling the wool and collecting the wax. It has long been noted as an allergen, and it is now also adulterated with chemical pesticides and fertilisers. Note: sheep are dipped in pesticides and eat grass grown with fertilisers. The result is contamination with a multitude of dangerous organophosphates and other carcinogens and neurotoxins. Diazinon was found in 84% of samples taken in a test sampling that included dieldrin and DDT and over a dozen other pesticides.15 Diazinon is a neurotoxic contact poison which easily penetrates the skin barrier. As a consequence of the widespread contamination, lanolin shouldn’t be used unless it is purified and cosmetics with lanolin should be avoided unless the label states that the lanolin is purified. Especially do not use lanolin on cracked nipples of nursing mothers. The toxins will transmit straight to the baby.

I just wanted to share this with everyone.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: OK. Here's my comment. Yes, many sheep are raised as you describe and probably most lanolin used in personal care products come from these sheep. There are also probably a small number of lanolin products made by people who raise sheep organically, that wouldn't have these contaminants.

I went to a website that sells lanolin for the making of bodycare products. Here is their list of lanolins (verbatim):

Pharmaceutical Lanolin Grades

Anhydrous Lanolin USP 89
Anhydrous Lanolin USP 93 (Low pesticide)
Anhydrous Lanolin USP Modified (Low pesticide)
Anhydrous Lanolin EP8
Anhydrous Lanolin EP10
Anhydrous Lanolin EP ELP (Low pesticide)
Anhydrous Lanolin EP ELP 3% (Hypoallergenic- Low pesticide)
Anhydrous Lanolin EP NDP (No detectable pesticide)

Non Pharmaceutical Lanolin Grades

Anhydrous Lanolin TG
Anhydrous Lanolin PC ( veterinary - Personal Care)
Lanolin Fatty Acid Bleached/Unbleached

"Anhydrous" just means that it is pure lanolin with no water added.

Note that some have "low pesticide" and one has "no detectable pesticide." So all lanolins aren't the same. The Anhydrous Lanolin PC for Personal Care products makes no mention of pesticides, so I assume it has pesticides.

We need to watch out for lanolin because lanolin itself (even without pesticides) can still be an allergen.


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