The Antibacterial Debate…

7 Sep

Welcome September and the fall weather you bring!

This month we will once again focus on hygiene products, their impacts on us and our environment.
Last year we featured two business using organic or homemade products, the Story of Cosmetics video and a list of the top 8 ingredients to watch out for when buying products.

To start off our hygiene focus this year we thought we’d draw your attention to the debate on health risks associated with the antibacterial chemical ‘triclosin/triclosan’.

What is triclosan?
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical that is used in a variety of products to stop the growth of
bacteria, fungus, and mildew and to deodorize.

What products contain triclosan?
Triclosan is in about 76% of liquid and 29% of bar soaps, and is also contained in personal care products such as toothpaste, cosmetics, facewash, and deodorant and household products such as countertops, textiles, and kitchenware. Popular items that contain triclosan include:  Dial liquid hand soap, antibacterial Softsoap, Clearasil Face Wash, Colgate Total toothpaste, Reach Antibacterial Toothbrush, Colgate Breeze Mouthwash, Right Guard and Old Spice Deodorant, Faberware Microban knives and cutting boards, Merrell Shoes, and Biofresh socks.

We’ve included an article from Bette Dowdell written May of this year on triclosin:

It interferes with thyroid function.  It gets estrogen and testosterone out of whack.  It puts a hurt on your immune system by messing with your thymus gland.  It increases your chances of becoming resistant to antibiotics.  It sets your kids up for asthma and infections.  And it’s probably in your house right now.

It’s triclosin–the health scourge that almost nobody’s heard about. And it’s everywhere.

Triclosin–a biocide or insecticide depending on who’s talking–takes a starring role in almost every product labeled ‘antibacterial.’ It’s also called Irgasan and Microban in case you’re reading labels.

Most liquid soaps contain triclosin–along with hormone-disrupting, cancer-causing sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate, but that’s another story for another day. Bar soaps labeled ‘antibacterial’ come fully loaded with triclosin, too.

So we wash our hands with an insecticide-laden soap, then pick up a sandwich–which adds the insecticide to our lunch. That was easy.

We shower in the stuff. Our socks come locked-and-loaded with triclosin. Cosmetics. Toothpaste. Kitchen utensils. Computer keyboards. Toys. Paint. Furniture. Humidifiers, Air filters. Laminate flooring. And on. And on. And on.

And here’s the kicker: Triclosin’s unnecessary. Regular soap safely removes 99.4% of any bacteria it contacts; triclosin products remove 99.6%–whilst doing a number on our endocrine system. For starters.

Combining the chlorine in our water with the triclosin in our soap creates poisonous dioxins, powerful environmental pollutants. While also creating chloroform, which seems to cause cancer.

And if you shower with antibacterial soap, then jump in the pool, the chlorine in the pool water reacts to the triclosin residue on your skin the same way. Thank you for sharing.

Children raised in an antibacterial bubble never acclimate to the fact we’re surrounded by various bacteria, so they never learn how to deal with the beasties. All the while, ads tell us our antibacterial actions prove our love. Yikes!. Antibacterialized kids experience higher levels of allergies, asthma and eczema than kids allowed to make mud pies and roll around on the floor with the dog.

And there’s still more. Because triclosin mirrors antibiotics in the way it destroys bacteria, we can end up resistant to antibiotics when we need them.

And water-treatment plants can’t remove triclosin, so they discharge water loaded with the stuff–which is toxic to algae–the foundation of aquatic ecosystems.

This stuff is murder, and you don’t want it anywhere around you. So ditch the antibacterial fad. Just walk away. Making the change is no big deal.

Here’s what you do: Get you some warm water. Lather up with old-fashioned bar soap. Then make sure it gets all over your hands–backs, between fingers, under fingernails–while you sing Happy Birthday to yourself twice. (If you’re in public, you might want to mind-sing instead of belting it out aloud. I’m just saying.)

And go through your house and get rid of anything labeled ‘antibacterial.’ Probably should take it to a hazmat dump.  There. You’ve just made your world a safer place. Cool, eh?

Read here what the FDA, CBC, Skin Deep, Realize Beauty and David Suzuki say about triclosin / triclosan.

What do you think?  Any No Waste Wednesday readers have another opinion on this chemical?
Does this information make you want to avoid antibacterial products?  Please share!

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One Response to “The Antibacterial Debate…”

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