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Product Ingredients–A look at Triclosan

Update: This article was written before triclosan and 18 other soap ingredients were banned by the FDA in September 2016. I’m so glad they finally listened and did something! This article is still worth a read since we all need to be conscious of the chemicals that are in the products we use and the dangers that they pose! Plus, companies have one year to take triclosan out of their products, so it is still and ingredient to watch out for!

 

One of the main reasons I started this blog was because of the belief that mainstream corporations do no have our best interests in mind. They continually put chemicals into products that they know can harm us because we continue to buy them. In fact, they market them to us as “safe” when, in fact, they are very harmful! We need to be more aware of what toxins we are encountering and stop buying the harmful ones. One of those harmful chemicals is triclosan, commonly found in anti-bacterial handsoap.

After bringing my daughter home from the hospital (after 99 days), I was told to use anti-bacterial soap to help keep her healthy, but I quickly learned about the dangers of Triclosan (and closely-related triclocarban found in bar soaps). This is the chemical added to anti-bacterial soaps that supposedly keeps us safer! There are actually a number of dangers from triclosan.

  • Laboratory studies have shown that it disrupts estrogen, testosterone and thyroid function prompting The Endocrine Society to issue a statement advising pregnant women and small children to avoid Triclosan if possible.
  • It has environmental impacts as well, since it has a detrimental effect on certain ecosystems when it runs off into water.
  • It is an unnecessary ingredient. According to the FDA,

“there is currently no evidence that they [products with triclosan] are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water,” -FDA

  • Because of triclosan’s anti-bacterial properties, the American Medical Association recommends that we DON’T use it either at home or in a healthcare setting because it is helping to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria. AKA superbugs.

Despite all of these health risks, it has taken our government years to look into it and there is still no resolution. The Endocrine Society issued their warning in 2009, but it wasn’t until more and more research studies were producing negative results that the FDA

“issued a proposed rule on Dec. 16, 2013 that would require manufacturers to provide more substantial data to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps.”

You can still buy many anti-bacterial soaps with triclosan because it will take the FDA a long time to do the research it feels necessary to ban these toxic drugs!

I agree with NRDC Senior Scientist Dr. Sarah Janssen who said,

“With no proven benefit and many red flags raised for harmful health impacts, the use of these so-called anti-microbials is an unnecessary and stupid use of toxic chemicals.”

The good news is that you don’t even need to buy hand soap from the store! It’s possible to make your own foaming hand soap that is non-toxic and very easy to make. Check out my recipe for foaming hand soap. Give it a try and skip the soap aisle all together! 

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