The Dangers of Triclosan
Say No to Triclosan
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that has been used in hand soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, shaving creams, mouth washes, and cleaning supplies for years. Recently, it has also been infused into consumer products such as toys, dish soap, cosmetics, and clothing. It seems as though there is an antibacterial version of virtually every product in every consumer product category, yet the evidence against using Triclosan is compelling and growing.
It is found in most human breast milk and the CDC has found that by the age of 7 almost everyone has significant levels in their blood and urine.
It is a potent hormone disruptor including estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone systems. There is evidence that it may be involved in certain forms of breast cancer, early onset of puberty in girls, and delayed brain development.
It accumulates in our fatty tissues (like DDT) and persists there for months to years.
In the presence of sunlight and moisture it is readily converted into Dioxins which are among the most toxic and carcinogenic environmental contaminants.
Most of it is washed down the drain where it passes through water treatment plants concentrated and bound to the sludge. The sludge is then sold as “biosolids,” which have been used as a fertilizer for food production for over 20 years. The bound Triclosan enters the food cycle as it is processed by worms, plants, and soil microbes – ultimately ending up in the fatty tissues of animals that live in the ecosystem where it is used.
Triclosan’s days as an antibacterial agent are clearly numbered. The EPA is currently reviewing health and safety data, a number of grocery store chains both in Europe and here in the U.S. have now banned products containing Triclosan and new research citing the various dangers of its use are being consistently released.
The Environmental Working Group – “Antibacterial Agent No Better Than Soap and Water – And It’s Toxic” (July 2008) www.ewg.org/node/26885
Science Daily – “Antibacterial Chemical Disrupts Hormone Activities, Study Finds” (Dec. 2007) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071207150713.htm