Triclosan: Harmful Antibacterial Ingredient
This morning, I finished reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck written by Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie. It was an interesting read, albeit a bit tedious at times. Furthermore, this book was mostly about the journey of two men experimenting to see if they could alter the amount of certain toxins in their lives by exposing and not exposing themselves to household products and foods that commonly contain chemicals. I’ve heard quite a lot about BPA and phthalates coursing through our veins. However, one topic that really striked my interest was that of triclosan, a harmful ingredient found in many products labelled as “antibacterial.”
I’m not sure how I’d never heard of this toxin before, but it’s something that definitely needs to be brought to light.
What is triclosan?
It’s a synthetic antibacterial and antimicrobial agent found in many of our household products such as shampoos, soaps, makeup, deodorant, toothpaste, and others.
Is it harmful?
Studies have found this chemical in about 75 percent of humans and scientists are readily finding it in our environment as well. Of course, researchers need to continue studying it, but at the moment scientists have found a connection between triclosan and allergies, cancers, and reproductive issues. It is an endocrine disruptor that overtime negatively effects our health. Scientists have done tests on mice to see the effects of antibacterial agents and the results show cancers formed in these mice. We need to decide if the moderate benefits of this chemical are worth the long term effects on our bodies.
Is it necessary?
Hospitals first used triclosan where extreme cleanliness was absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, these days the use of triclosan has become some what of a marketing ploy. It is a non essential ingredient that companies have added to their products to entice our germaphobic society. Antibacterial hand soap for example: If you think about it, it’s like marketing a soapy soap. Hand soap does a fine job of cleaning, and we don’t need added harmful chemicals to make it more effective. Companies have begun creating antibacterial/antimicrobial toothbrushes, yoga mats, hairbrushes, etc. It’s all a bit excessive and honestly a marketing scheme we should avoid.
Many companies are quietly dropping this ingredient from their products. However, be sure to carefully read ingredient lists when purchasing household products. Most anything with the term “antibacterial” should be a red flag for including toxic triclosan or a very similar harmful chemical called triclocarban. Here are a few examples of products that contain triclosan:
- Colgate Total Toothpaste
- Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Hand Soap
- Reach Antibacterial Toothbrush
- Clearasil Daily Face Wash
So let’s encourage all companies to discontinue this harmful chemical for healthier customers and a healthier environment!
All in all, what do you know about triclosan? Also, do you try to avoid chemicals in your daily life?