In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned most antibacterial soaps and body washes from being sold in stores. According to the FDA, antibacterial cleaners are no more effective than regular soap options and the antibacterial products pose health risks. Manufacturers have a year to take triclosan, triclocarban, and 17 other chemicals out of their products. Currently, about 93% of liquid soaps include triclosan which can be found in about 2,000 liquid products labeled “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial.”
What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical. According to the FDA, “triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products intended to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It is added to some antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics—products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It also can be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys—products not regulated by the FDA.”
What are the dangers ofTriclosan?
There is no scientific evidence that antibacterial soaps are more effective than plain soap and water, (studies show that antibacterials offer no benefit over handwashing with just soap and water); however, there is evidence of several potential health risks associated with triclosan. The bad far outweighs the good!
The greatest health concerns associated with triclosan are disruption of thyroid function which effects hormones, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and superbugs. There are other studies in progress which point to additional potential risks, such as skin cancer, liver and inhalation toxicity, heart failure, and muscle impairment.
Therefore, with no indication that antibacterial soaps do any good, and potential risks being quite serious, the FDA chose to ban triclosan and 18 other potentially harmful chemicals from soaps and body wash.
This ban does not include the use of triclosan in hospitals.
Where else can Triclosan be found?
This ban only includes antibacterial soaps and body wash for home use.Triclosan may be present in several products found everyday in most homes and child care programs. They include, and are not limited to:
·Clothes & Shoes
·Personal care products
·In the kitchen (soap, dish liquid, sponges, plastic food containers, cutting boards)
·In the bathroom (shower curtains, toothbrushes, towels)
·In the naproom/bedroom (mattresses, carpets, window treatments)
Triclosan in Children
According to a Connecticut Department of Health, “An antibacterial chemical in consumer products called triclosan may be a health risk to children. There is widespread exposure, yet no known benefit to children. Recent studies suggest triclosan may increase a child’s risk of allergy. It is also an endocrine disruptor. It is wise for parents to make sure that personal care products purchased for use by children are free of triclosan. This includes toothpaste, mouthwash, hand soap, shampoo, lotions, crèmes and deodorant. Adults who do not have a medical or dental need for antibacterial products should also avoid triclosan. Several manufacturers are phasing out triclosan but it is still present in many products.”
How to avoid triclosan:
1. Stop using antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps!
2. Read ingredient labels on personal care products and do not buy or use those with triclosan.
3. Steer clear of everyday products (toys, clothes, kitchenware, furniture) labeled antibacterial.
CT Department of Health
Environmental Working Group
US Food & Drug Administration