This study has linked triclosan – the most commonly used household antibacterial agent – with liver dysfunction. The study found that exposure to triclosan disrupted liver function, leading to liver fibrosis and liver cancer.
Based on research by the USA Food and Drug Administration “there currently is no evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water”.
Why are there risky chemicals in our common household products that provide us with little to no benefit?
Things I have learned about triclosan
- If it is labeled as antibacterial or antimicrobial chances are it has triclosan in it.
- Even if it isn’t labeled as antibacterial it may still have triclosan in it - triclosan is in 75% liquid soaps and over 30% of bar soaps!
- Our skin absorbs triclosan.
- The majority of us have triclosan in our bodies - the average blood serum level is high enough to be harmful to aquatic organisms.
- Your out-of-whack metabolism may be linked to triclosan – it is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic thyroid hormones in our bodies and disrupt our natural thyroid functions.
- Triclosan can suppress our immune system and is linked to linked to asthma, allergies, and dermatitis.
- The use of triclosan can breed ‘superbugs’ in your home.
- Triclosan + tap water (chlorine) = chloroform. Chloroform is a carcinogen that we can breath in (shower steam), absorb through our skin, and ingest.
On top of all of this, triclosan is everywhere. Since 2001 there has been a more than 225% increase in the number of triclosan containing personal health care products registered with Health Canada. Triclosan is in our toothpaste, mouthwash, body washes, liquid soaps, bar soap, facial cleaners, lotions & moisturizers, deodorants, shaving creams, make-up, hair conditioners, and disinfectants. Triclosan has also made its way into toothbrushes, kitchen equipment, smartphone cases, clothes, footwear, socks, and toys.
You can easily reduce your exposure.
- Avoid purchasing products that are labeled antibacterial or microbial.
- Use soap. Just plain, basic soap. Extra bonus points if it is 100% natural.
- Use natural products around your home. There are loads of natural antimicrobial cleaners on the market or you can easily DIY like this one or this one.
- The Environmental Working Group and Environmental Defence have tools that can help you.
- Read labels and avoid Amicor, Aquasept, Bactonix, Irgasan DP300, Microban, Monolith, Sanitized, Sapoderm, Ster-Zac, triclosan, and Ultra-Fresh…I can never remember all of the stuff to avoid so I just try to avoid products with ingredients I can't easily recognize.
Holiday Idea: Locally made 100% natural (including fragrances) soaps can make wonderful hospitality gifts, stocking stuffers, and gift exchange items...hmmm…having just written that I realized that there are quite a few caveats inherent in that statement i.e. most 7 year olds would not enjoy a gift of soap…maybe a better statement is - I love beautiful hand milled soaps - hint, hint ;-)
Want to Learn More?
Environmental Defence: Resources
Triclosan: Environmental Fate and Effects
EPA Triclosan Facts
The commonly used antimicrobial additive triclosan is a liver tumor promoter
New assessment of triclosan supports call for ban
The Dirty Side of Soap
FDA Taking Closer Look at 'Antibacterial' Soap