Have you heard of Triclosan? It’s claim to ‘fame’ is that it’s an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent that’s added to many consumer goods ranging from antibacterial soap, toothpaste and cosmetics to cutting boards, furniture and toys. Essentially it’s everywhere.
Why should you care?
Well, for starters, even the lead microbiologist for the FDA (Colleen Rogers, Ph.D.) admits it may aid in helping bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. And it may alter the way the body is able to regulate hormones. (The FDA hasn’t ever fully tested the drug, yet has taken their sweet time to decide that maybe it should be tested–they started this whole process in 1972 and finally came to the conclusion in 2013 that maybe it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do and maybe it does cause a bunch of problems. This took 42 years to conclude??) In those 42 years they did decide that it’s no more effective than using plain soap and water. That’s something, right?
Aside from the FDA, however, there is evidence that it can cause brain damage, cancer, obesity, allergies, muscle contractions, early puberty, infertility, and that it generally compromises the endocrine system.
In the meantime, Triclosan has risen to a 1 billion dollar industry and is found in almost 75% of the soaps produced in the US along with a wide and varied list of other products, even mattress pads and clothing.
At one time the FDA believed Triclosan wasn’t absorbed into the body, however a study in 2008 confirmed Tricolsan in the urine of 75% of the people tested. In 2009, bottlenose dolphins in Florida were found to have alarming levels of Triclosan in their bodies as well (it hangs out in the fatty tissue–and wildlife are picking it up from all the products humans wash down the drain that contain it). It’s obviously being absorbed. And the results are harmful to both humans and animals.
Recently, the FDA decided maybe Triclosan isn’t such a good thing. But because they haven’t fully studied it, they’ve decided to put the onus of it’s safety on the companies that use Triclosan in their products. By 2016, companies need to prove that there is added benefit to having Triclosan in their products. If they can’t prove this, the ingredient must be removed.
Hmmm. Let’s see. They’ve already concluded it’s no more effective than using the old fashioned soap and water. They’ve already found out it’s affecting our wildlife and their ability to reproduce. They’ve already found out it’s absorbed into the human body. They’ve already found out there are super high levels of it in marine life. They’ve already found out it disrupts the endocrine system, disrupts the thyroid hormone, causes cancer and allergies (among other things) in animals (of course they state that just because it happens in animals doesn’t mean it will happen in humans) yet they’re still not sure about it. Could companies using it please put it to the test??
If you don’t want to wait around to find out the final, final word, you can take action now. Stop using any products that have Triclosan in them. This mostly eliminates all anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers. (Even some hospitals like Kaiser have come to their senses and stopped using this stuff!) Read labels. If it’s an ingredient, it’s required to be on the label.
You can also make your own hand sanitizer that not only kills germs, but strengthens your immune system at the same time (and it smells good, too).
Since we can’t trust others to tell us what’s safe for our families, we need to become informed consumers. Our health and the health of our families depend on it.