Sodium magnesium silicate, a substance known as a type of talc, is used for many consumer and industrial applications as a bulking agent in liquid products.
Normally identified in industry by Chemical Abstracts Number (CAS) 53320-86-8, sodium magnesium silicate is an off-white powder with the following synonyms: silicic acid, lithium magnesium sodium salt, synthetic magnesium lithium silicate and lithium magnesium sodium silicate.
Sodium magnesium silicate works primarily as a bulking agent or a binding agent in order to increase the viscosity of a liquid product.
Products that commonly contain sodium magnesium silicate include cosmetic creams, pastes and gels, including body washes, facial creams and toothpaste.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists sodium magnesium silicate on INER, a list of inert ingredients permitted for use in pesticides. In order for a substance to be listed on INER, it cannot be known to have harmful effects on living organisms.
Nothing to Worry About
Most experts agree that sodium magnesium silicate is safe. The Environmental Working Group, an active watchdog group with a database of harmful substances in cosmetic products, lists sodium magnesium silicate as a "low hazard."
About the Author
Samantha Gordon is a Regulatory Specialist in international chemicals regulation specializing in European affairs. As a freelancer, she typically works as a ghostwriter, focusing on topics in science, business and law in a variety of formats. Ms. Gordon has a B.S. in Chemistry and a graduate certificate in Toxicology and Industrial Hygiene.