Beware of Triclosan

washing handsWho hasn’t used anti bacterial hand soap, dish soap, gel or hand spray?  It’s now in every public restroom, alongside the regular soap, declaring it’s usefulness, even without water.  With flu and cold season here, how’s a person supposed to keep their hands clean without all those chemicals?

Recent studies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found amounts of triclosan in the subjects’ blood. The highest levels were found in adults, especially those with higher incomes.  This is likely due to their ability to purchase these hand sanitizing products.  Children had the lowest amounts in their blood. This should make us all think twice before using hand sanitizers.

Hygiene is a great thing; don’t underestimate the power of plain old soap and water.  Killing bad bacteria is a good thing, but anti bacterial products don’t differentiate between good and bad.  We need those good bacterias.  Just in case you forgot, here are the CDC details on washing your hands.

*Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.

*Rub and scrub all surfaces of your hands and fore arms for 15-20 seconds.

*Rinse hands well under running water.

*Dry your hands with a clean towel or an air dryer.

Have you read the labels on your toothpaste and mouthwash?  Several popular brands include triclosan in their dental hygiene products.  You can use something as simple as baking soda and water to clean your teeth with zero side effects.  My last quick trip to the grocery store ended with a discovery that every bottle and brand of dish soap, except for one, had triclosan in it.  If you want to know what chemicals are in the products you are using, you really have to read your labels on everything.  Several ‘natural’ products include this ingredient.

Soap and water is the least expensive way to keep your hands clean.  Baking soda is far cheaper than toothpaste.  Spend less, get clean hands and teeth.  It’s a no-brainer.

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  1. Great post! And very important information. Triclosan has been shown to be persistent in our water systems, and it is a bioacumulative endocrine disruptor (it makes boy fishes and frogs into girl fishes and frogs!). For those people who say that the FDA would never allow any dangerous ingredients in consumer products (I’m not talking about EcoEtsy readers), they should know that, according to the FDA:

    “Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In light of these studies, FDA is engaged in an ongoing scientific and regulatory review of this ingredient. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.”

    In other words, there’s lots of evidence that it’s a health issue, but the FDA is not ready to tell manufacturers that they can’t use it. So for now, it is up to us as consumers to regulate it by not buying any products with it in it!

    Here’s a great article from last March citing some of the studies that have been done on Triclosan

  2. Amber Bryce says:

    Very nice article! Back to the basics I say. And great point there Jen.

  3. Ditto Jen!

  4. Not to mention that all those chemicals wind up downstream after being put down the drain…who knows what its doing to the wildlife…

  5. Fabulous article! Spot on!