(NaturalHealth365) Triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products (antibacterial soap, toothpaste and body washes) to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination, however it can also be found in clothing, kitchenware, toys and furniture. At first glance, something that has the opportunity to destroy bacteria seems like a good idea to add to products for our safety, however some regulatory agencies are discovering that triclosan – in personal care products – is not as safe as originally thought.
Doesn’t triclosan help us to reduce the risk of illness?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this is an untrue statement. The FDA states that there is no evidence that antibacterial soaps are more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water and that using triclosan products may carry unnecessary risks such as antibiotic resistance and unanticipated hormonal changes.
The FDA is now requiring manufacturers of antibacterial consumer goods to prove that their products are both safe for long-term use and more effective than regular soap in order to remain on the market.
The FDA is not alone in their concerns
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of updating its assessment of the effects of triclosan, when it is used in pesticides, five years earlier than originally planned. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found triclosan present in the urine of 75% of the U.S. populations. This is a 42% increase since 2004.
The Canadian Medical Association has been calling for a ban on the household use of triclosan since 2009 citing insufficient studies proving its safety on health and the environment. The American Medical Association echoed their concerns stating it would be prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products.
Minnesota leads the pack on banning triclosan
In May of 2014, Minnesota became the first state in the U.S. to ban triclosan and it goes into effect on January 2017. Minnesota as well as other states considering a ban have been instrumental in having corporations such as Proctor & Gamble pledge to eliminate triclosan from their products by the end of 2014.
Researchers link triclosan to breast cancer.
Given the link between hormonal imbalances and triclosan, researchers wondered whether triclosan played a role in the development of breast cancer. A study published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, found that triclosan, as well as another commercial substance called octylphenol, promoted the growth of human breast cancer cells in lab dishes and breast cancer tumors in mice.
The scientists found that both these agents interfered with genes involved with breast cancer cell growth, resulting in more cancer cells. Mice exposed to these compounds had denser breast cancer tumors than the control group. The lead researcher stated that exposure to endocrine disrupting hormones such as triclosan and octyphenol “may significantly increase the risk of breast cancer development and adversely affect human health”.
Triclosan impacts swimming behavior in fish
Researchers investigate the swimming behavior and expression of proteins in minnows exposed to triclosan for up to seven days. They found that low concentrations significantly altered fish swimming activity after just one day and a direct impact on protein receptors. Finally, they discovered that triclosan impacted muscle function and stressed the need to reconsider the use of triclosan given the risks to our aquatic life.
Alternatives to antibacterial soaps and products
Plain old soap and water is good for hand washing and there are many safe organic body washes, hand sanitizers (such as those using thyme oil instead of triclosan) that can be easy swaps. Also, be on the lookout for antimicrobial toys. Children may put these in their mouths, exposing them to more than we would think.
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About the author: Sima Ash of Healing 4 Soul is a clinical and classical homeopath and certified clinical nutritionist who utilizes a unique approach pioneered by Tinus Smits, M.D. called CEASE therapy. The aim of CEASE treatment is systematic detoxification of the causes of illness, leading to step by step improvement and restoration of health in the individual. For additional information, please visit – Healing4Soul.com. You can follow Sima on Facebook at ‘Cease Therapy California’ and through her weekly blog on NaturalHealth365.com
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