Monday, August 9, 2010

Triclosan- You and your hand soap don't need it.

Triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent, is the most common ingredient in antibacterial hand soaps. It is used under the name Microban when used in plastics and clothing, and the name Biofresh when used in acrylic fibers. I am so fed up with everything becoming antibacterial and most people thinking this is a good thing!

We are washing our kids with it, brushing their teeth with it, then marching into the doctors office and demanding more antibiotics to stop Johnny's runny nose and cough! Why do bacteria get such a bad rap??? There are millions of good bacteria. All over our skin, in our nostrils, lining our gut....everywhere. These good guys keep the bad bacteria from proliferating. You wash your hands fifteen times a day with Softsoap (containing triclosan) and you've gotten rid of both good and bad bacteria. The next thing you touch is Johnny's runny nose and WHAMMO-- the bad bacteria are running rampant.

Let me break it down-- the actual dangers of triclosan.

Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor. We've heard a lot about this in recent
years with BPA and other components of plastics. Endocrine disruptors are substances from outside the body that act like hormones and disrupt the internal hormone production and balance. Triclosan mimics the thyroid hormone and attaches to receptor sites so that the body's own thyroid hormone cannot be used. Not so great, huh?

Triclosan reacts with chlorine in water creating toxic compounds like
dioxins and chloroform gas- a human carcinogen.

Antibiotic resistance. I've visited this topic before. Creating superbugs that
have evolved to outlast our antibiotic excess. This is a really big deal. As a
nurse I get all worked up about should too. Being in a situation
where you can't find a strong enough antibiotic to fight a really tough bug is S-C-A-R-Y.

Your kids immune systems are WEAK in a sterile world! There are studies showing links with kids living in extremely microbial protective environments with asthma, allergies and eczema. (1) Their immune systems are in a sense immature, having never been exposed to a range of bacteria. Another study showed rural community kids living on farms had fewer allergies than kids not living on farms. (2)

And let's not forget that while people are scrubbing their kids, ridding them of
all bacteria that most illnesses are from VIRUSES! H1N1- Virus. Common Cold- Virus.

Plain ol' soap and water, a good 15 second scrub often throughout the day is BETTER than antimicrobial soaps!!!!!

The Center for Disease Control and the American Medical Association both agree that "no data exists to support their (antimicrobial agents)efficacy...and it may be prudent to avoid the use of them in common household products".
The FDA is currently reviewing it's safety.

Now for the the list. This is only a small portion of products containing triclosan.

* Dial and Softsoap hand soap (many others as well)
* Ajax and Dawn Dish soap (wow!!! even washing our dishes with it!)
* Deodorants (Right Guard, Old Spice)
* Too many skin care products to name
* childrens toys, cosmetics, kitchenware....

1 Rook GAW, Stanford JL. Give us this day our daily germs. Immunol Today 1998;19:113-6.

2 Braun-Fahrländer CH, Gassner M, Grize L, Neu U, Sennhauser FH, Varonier HS, et al. Prevalence of hay fever and allergic sensitization in farmer's children and their peers living in the same rural community. Clin Exp Allergy 1999;29:28-34.