Before You Use Any Antibacterial Product, Read This

Posted on June 6, 2013. Filed under: Green Cleaning |

If you are using anti-bacterial soap, there is a good chance it contains triclosan, an antibacterial agent. I recently read an article about the effects of triclosan which gave me pause. It turns out that this chemical, which is included in many consumer products, has side effects worth exploring.

Hand sanitizer's in a building's lobby.So what should you know about triclosan?

It’s Everywhere

Triclosan is not just found in soap. It is an ingredient in many other consumer products, including: toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, mattresses, toothbrushes and even shoe insoles.

It’s Also a Pesticide

Did you know triclosan was registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency in 1969?

It’s Linked to Health Risks in Animals

Triclosan has been linked to what scientists call “really dramatic” effects on cardiac function in mice – heart muscle function was reduced by 25% and grip strength was reduced by 18%.

Animal studies have also shown a link between triclosan and suppressed thyroid hormone. According to the FDA, “animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation.”

Some scientists are concerned triclosan could affect the risk of infertility, early puberty and other hormone-related problems in humans.

Due to increased public pressure, the FDA is studying the effects on triclosan to determine whether or not it should be used in consumer products.

 You Don’t Need it to Kill Bacteria

If you are trying to kill bacteria, soap and water will do the job. According to the FDA, “the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.”

It Lingers in the Environment

The chemical gets in our water supply and flows in to our lakes and rivers. This is unfortunate since studies provide that Triclosan harms fish and other aquatic life.

 Using it Defeats the Purpose

The American Medical Association has found that Triclosan could lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria. So instead of killing germs, prolonged use over time might lead to stronger, more resistant ones.

Fortunately, you can check your product labels to see if triclosan is listed as an ingredient.

 For More on Triclosan

Health Dangers in Personal Care Products

FDA Consumer Guide on Triclosan

EPA – Triclosan Facts

Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Triclosan

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About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

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Photo Credit: futureatlas.com on flickr.

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