As we head into winter and cold season here in New Jersey it's tempting to pull out the antibacterial soaps. Triclosan was originally created for the health care setting. It’s an antibacterial (see my 10/9 post), a disinfectant and it has some antiviral and antifungal properties too. As its use moved into the mainstream, it’s been insidiously added to all kinds of products. It's a dangerous substance and you want to eliminate it from your home.
According to the material safety data Sheet (MSDS) for triclosan it’s irritating to the eyes and skin, very toxic to aquatic organisms, to the extent that it may cause long term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. Is this something you want to wash your hands with?
Ok, so it’s diluted in some pretty smelling hand soap. The soap a million other people are using. All of it going down the drain. Maybe into a water system or a well, probably into an aquifer or the local stream. Over 95% of triclosan uses are in homes or offices where the disposal is down the drain. Triclosan is not removed in water treatment plants. Gee, could this be related to the reduced aquatic life we’re experiencing? Then we drink the water.
More from the MSDS- Keep away from foodstuffs in transport, environmentally hazardous (marine pollutant). Ok, enough of this. It’s a hazardous chemical, a pesticide. After it’s mixed into a product for daily use it’s still a problem. It’s been strongly linked (not conclusively mind you) to abnormalities in the endocrine system, birth defects, extreme weight loss, skin irritation (well, the manufacturer’s MSDS does say that, doesn’t it?), allergy susceptibility, antibiotic resistance , etc. etc.
Scrutinize your disinfectants, hand soaps, mouthwash and body care products. It may also be labeled as Microban® in plastics or clothing, or Biofresh ® in acrylic.
Here’s just a sampling of the common products that contain triclosan:
Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
Dial® Liquid Soap
Clearasil® Daily Face Wash;
pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin
CVS Antibacterial Soap
Dawn® Complete Antibacterial Dish Liquid,
Ajax® Antibacterial Dish Liquid.
Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush
Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation;
Jason Natural Cosmetics
Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor
Old Spice High Endurance Stick Deodorant,
Right Guard Sport Deodorant
It is also in products labelled as "Microban"
For a more extensive list see Beyond Pesticides.
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