According to the New York Times, several studies have shown that “triclosan may alter hormone regulation in laboratory animals or cause antibiotic resistance... the F.D.A. has already said that soap with triclosan is no more effective than washing with ordinary soap and water.” So why is triclosan present in products ranging from soap to toys to garbage bags? What exactly is this chemical and should we be concerned? YES, we should be concerned. The American Medical Association recommends that triclosan not be used in the home, as it may encourage bacterial resistances to antibiotics.
WHAT IS TRICLOSAN?
Triclosan is promoted and marketed as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.
WHAT DOES TRICLOSAN DO?
Tricolosan supposedly reduces and controls bacteria contamination. Sounds good, right? We’ve found two areas where triclosan does benefit consumers, according to the FDA:
1.) If you (very, very unfortunately) have MRSA, a dangerous and stubborn staph infection, then washing with a 2% triclosan solution is recommended.
2.) If you have gingivitis, then triclosan turns out to be an effective antibacterial agent for your gums.
However, for the majority of people who do NOT have gingivitis or a staph infection, there is NO evidence that triclosan provides an extra benefit to health. And, we’ve found several examples where triclosan may be doing significant harm:
1.) Triclosan has been found in some unlikely and extremely disturbing places, including human breast milk and throughout the aquatic environment.
2.) Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function.
3.) Triclosan has been shown to disrupt hormones in laboratory studies and can possibly encourage the growth of drug-resistant bacteria or "superbugs." According to the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), there is “no evidence to date that using triclosan leads to an increase in antibiotic resistance. However it is too early to say that triclosan exposure never leads to microbial resistance, as there is not yet enough information to make a full risk analysis.”
Exactly. Not enough information. So we say, makes sense to stay away!
WHAT PRODUCTS CONTAIN TRICLOSAN?
Triclosan has been used since the early 1970s and is found in lots of consumer products, including toothpastes, soaps, deodorants, mouthwashes and cleaning supplies. In addition, triclosan is added to toys, bedding, trash bags and other products where bacteria might grow.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID TRICLOSAN?
1.) Look at the ingredients list. It’s easy to spot triclosan (and triclocarbon) on the label, so choose soaps, toothpastes, hand gels and other personal care products that don’t contain this chemical. Veritey features products that do not contain triclosan or triclocarbon.
2.) Avoid any product that says “antibacterial.” This is often code for triclosan in products like garbage bags that claim to “fight odors.”
3.) Wash your hands well with plain old soap and water, just like Grandma always said.
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