Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical that first came to market decades ago (some sources say the 1960s, others 1970s) as an ingredient in surgical scrubs and antibacterial soaps used exclusively in hospitals and other health care facilities. In time, triclosan was added to many products for the home including liquid body soaps and bar soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, deodorants, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, clothing, toys, yoga mats, kitchen utensils, cutting boards, plastic food packaging, lunch bags, countertops, bedding, trash bags, and more.
While initially considered safe, later animal studies revealed several concerns including endocrine disruption, poor liver function and tumors, and disrupted thyroid function. Possibly the greatest concern is the belief that these products and their use are contributing to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains.
Triclosan Is Polluting Our Bodies and Our Environment
UC San Diego Health System reports that 97% of breast milk samples tested contain triclosan and nearly 75% of urine tests from people tested contained triclosan. As for the environment, it is one of the seven most frequently detected compounds found in streams.
The National Resources Defense Council sued the FDA, forcing them to review triclosan. In December 2013, the FDA removed triclosan’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status, admitting the need for more studies.
The FDA says they are working in collaboration with the EPA to evaluate triclosan.
Minnesota and Triclosan
Minnesota has stepped out ahead of the crowd by passing legislation to ban triclosan from most personal hygiene products in their state. The ban is slated to begin on January 1, 2017.
Though they dragged their feet and refused to properly do their job protecting the public from a harmful chemical, there is one thing we do have to give the FDA credit for: they blew the lid on the whole “antibacterial soaps kill so many germs” propaganda. They clearly state that the difference between washing with an antibacterial soap and regular soap is nominal.
Though we now know antibacterial soaps aren’t that great at killing all the germs on our skin, they are very effective in creating super bugs. So please, stop using antibacterial soaps and other products for your safety and for the safety of others. Read labels. Shop wisely. Start your own ban and vote with your dollars.
Remember, immunity from germs happens on the inside of the body. Studies have shown that people who use antibacterial chemical products get sick more often. Here’s how to bullet proof your immune system.
- Triclosan – Beyond Pesticides
- The Dirty Side of Soap – UC San Diego Health System
- FDA Taking a Closer Look at ‘Antibacterial’ Soap – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – FDA