Triclosan is the primary active ingredient in many antibacterial and antifungal products we all use on a regular basis. It has become popular as an additive to hand soap, face wash, toothpaste, and is used in Microban® products such as utensils, clothing and toys.
Triclosan is also used in higher concentrations (2%) as treatment for people with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureaus (MRSA).
It degrades very slowly, and has been found in decades old sludge at the bottom of lakes as well as in sewage. In fact, it is one of the most detected elements in wastewater, and affects algae growth. Because it degrades slowly, and is not highly soluble in water, triclosan’s effectiveness in hand soap is due to the fact that it stays on the hands and continues to kill bacteria even after they have been rinsed and dried. According to some studies, products that contain triclosan kill up to 99.6% of germs.
Currently, triclosan is used in approximately 75% of liquid soap products. Many manufacturers, heeding the criticism of opponents of triclosan, are phasing the ingredient out of their products. This may also be due in part to studies that have shown that plain old soap, coupled with proper hand washing techniques, can be just as effective in combating the daily germs you come in contact with.
Products that contain this chemical:
If you are not yet aware of the potential dangers of triclosan, you should know that this antibacterial agent has been strongly linked to the following effects on human health:
* Abnormalities with the endocrine system, particularly with thyroid hormone signaling
* Weakening of the immune system
* Birth defects
* Uncontrolled cell growth
* Unhealthy weight loss
Although triclosan is best known for its presence in many brands of antibacterial soap, it is also found in a wide variety of personal care and household products. According to BeyondPesticides.org, triclosan is found in the following products:
Other Personal Care Products:
(specific products are named in Beyond Pesticides link below)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the chemical triclosan, which is commonly found in toothpaste, antibacterial soap, and other consumer goods. The FDA is concerned that triclosan can alter hormone levels.
The chlorinated aromatic compound is present in such products as deodorants, shaving creams and gels, dishwashing liquids, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and cleaning supplies.
It is also found in toys, workout clothing, bedding, trash bags, and other consumer products.
Triclosan is useful in controlling and reducing bacterial contamination, which is why it is often found in hand sanitizers.
Recent studies involving triclosan, however, has shown that triclosan can alter hormone levels in animals. In other studies, scientists found that triclosan increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
This chemical that is used so commonly actually makes its way into our bodies. A 2002 Swedish study found high levels of triclosan in 3 out of 5 human breast milk samples.
Good washing and scrubbing with water and soap helps to remove germs, contaminants, and chemicals.
It can also prevent exposure by ingestion and cross-contamination of the surfaces and objects we touch.
It does not have to be fancy, chemical laden soap, hand wash, sanitizers etc.
A plain bar of soap and some warm water, a good scrub, and there you have it – clean hands! That is the simplest way to avoid all those horrid chemicals they sneak into the products we buy.
“Soap and water, and common sense”, said the great physician William Osler, “are the best disinfectants.”
Learn as much as you can and make informed decisions about the products you use around your home.