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What is Triclosan?

August 23, 2018

The time has come to wash our hands of Triclosan and other unnecessary antimicrobial chemicals for good. 

 

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in many consumer products such as toothpaste, soaps, detergents, toys, bedding, trash bags, clothing, surgical cleaning treatments, and many more things. It is a hazard to people and the environment while providing no real benefit to consumers. 


Triclosan made its debut in the 1970s when it was used to remove bacteria and fungus from hospitals. But then it expanded commercially and is now a very common ingredient in our daily lives. This is where it takes a turn for the worse. Because of its overuse, Triclosan has been found in 75% of Americans.

So, if you are standing in a group of 4 people, 3 of those people most likely has an abundance of Triclosan in their body. Scientists are concerned that widespread use of antimicrobials in consumer products could contribute to growing antibiotic resistance and make the vital medical uses of antimicrobials ineffective. 


Basically, we are stabbing ourselves in the foot with using too much antibacterial and antifungal chemicals. Because the bacteria and fungus grow really strong and resilient to our efforts to get rid of them. 

Besides making our medicines less effective, recent studies have also found that Triclosan interferes with the body’s thyroid hormone metabolism and maybe a potential endocrine disruptor.  Which means it affects your hormones. Children exposed to antibacterial compounds at an early age also have an increased chance of developing allergies, asthma, and eczema.


There are also concerns about Triclosan and its link with dioxin, which is highly carcinogenic and can cause health problems as severe as weakening the immune system, decrease fertility, and cause miscarriages and birth defects.


To make matters even worse, the use and disposal of products containing Triclosan result in significant discharges of this toxic chemical into wastewater treatment plants and the environment. Triclosan is found in streams and waterways all across the United States. 
And just as in residential and medical settings, Triclosan's buildup in the environment could lead to the development of bacterial resistance. From the wastewater plants,

Triclosan is transferred to farm fields where the wastewater residues are applied as fertilizer, which can result in Triclosan contamination of produce grown on those fields. Experts warn that Triclosan-contaminated food and water could present additional routes of exposure for people and animals. 


Lucky for us, in 2017, the FDA put a ban on Triclosan and is prohibiting the use of Triclosan and 16 other antimicrobial chemicals in soap products. Woohoo! A win for us and the environment!


However, sorry to get your hopes up. Be warned that Triclosan is still allowed to be used in other personal care items. Just not soap. It is also still approved for use in building materials, houseware items, cleaning supplies, textiles and apparels, and outdoor and sports gear. It is also permitted in phones, toothbrushes, razors, and in children’s items, such as bibs, toys, and playground equipment. 


If you’d like a comprehensive look at where Triclosan can be hiding in your life, I have a link down below that takes you to the Environmental Working Group’s interactive guide. It’s quite a shocking list of what Triclosan can lurking in.


The thing is, is that Triclosan is NOT an essential ingredient in many products. It’s just added for its “antimicrobial” properties, but there's no evidence that products containing Triclosan are more effective than just plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain diseases. 

I have good news for you though, many companies know this and are working to remove Triclosan from their products. The move towards clean, sustainable living is inspiring many people, and the demand for clean products is high. Companies are not blind to what people want. Just be careful with companies that lie through their teeth about their product being natural and clean. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this video and see you next week. Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day.

Take care of yourself <3

Peace!

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

References

 

Environmental Working Group

- Triclosan: Not Safe, Not Effective: https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2017/06/triclosan-not-safe-not-effective#.W38-G-hKhPZ

- WHERE IS TRICLOSAN STILL APPROVED FOR USE?: https://www.ewg.org/research/ewgs-guide-triclosan#.W3894uhKhPZ

 

Beyond Pesticides

- Triclosan: Health Effects: https://www.beyondpesticides.org/programs/antibacterials/triclosan/health-effects

 

Mayo Clinic

- Should I avoid products that contain triclosan?: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/triclosan/faq-20057861

 

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

- Recent Evidence Regarding Triclosan and Cancer Risk: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945593/

 

Tufts University 

- Triclosan: http://emerald.tufts.edu/med/apua/consumers/personal_home_21_4240495089.pdf

 

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