Triclosan made the news again. Why we don't use it.

Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical that is found in many household items, not just antibacterial soaps. Medical Daily just reported that a new study out of Norway linked triclosan with increased childhood allergies.  The Norwegian scientists also said triclosan can change the bacterial flora of the skin, mouth and gut. Given that allergies have to do with improper immune response and also that the majority of our immune system is found in our guts, these allegations mean that triclosan may have far reaching consequences. Medical Daily talks about it being in your toothpaste.  If you use normal toothpaste, that’s likely, but toothpaste is by no means the end of the list. Here’s a list of many products that contain triclosan.

In 1998, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that more than 1 million pounds of triclosan were produced in the US each year.  That figure has only compounded with antibacterial-everything on the market a decade and a half later. Given the nature of triclosan products, after and as we use it, the triclosan that doesn’t end up in our bodies, just ends up washed down the drain and enters our water systems. Sure water companies try to get the triclosan out during the treatment process, but it still ends in our drinking water. So, I can’t avoid Triclosan exposure for my children. That means that the factors I do have control over, I take control over.

I get all sorts of nasty looks in the bathroom at the grocery store when I refuse to allow my kids to wash their hands with the “antibacterial soap.”  I really don’t care though. No amount of peer pressure is going to make me put triclosan on my children’s skin, not even “every once in awhile.”

Triclosan is not welcome in or on my children if I can help it. I know many of you feel the same way.

Garden Dreams Goat Milk SoapKeep in mind that according to the Mayo Clinic, “antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap.” A sixth grader even came to the same conclusion when she examined the effectiveness of antibacterial soap in comparison to natural soap.  The American Medical Association stated, “Despite their recent proliferation in consumer products, the use of antimicrobial agents such as triclosan in consumer products has been studied extensively. No data exist to support their efficacy when used in such products or any need for them. . .it may be prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products. . .”

Also consider that most illnesses children encounter are caused by viruses and triclosan, by nature has little effect on viruses.

So, I have to wonder why it’s so commonly used in schools. Especially since there are natural soaps out there like Garden Dreams that contain essential oils that help keep germs away even after the hand-wash is over. Not only that, but the essential oils are actually healthy and calming for our children.  When used at home in the bath, soaps like these can even act as a preventive against lice and mites and other nasties that children can pick up in public, outside or at school.

As for our FDA…

On its website, (As of today’s date) the FDA states, “FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.” Apparently, the FDA doesn’t get around much because this crap has been under fire from consumer advocacy groups and other nations’ health safety regulating agencies for over a decade now… when the Norwegians put out another study pertaining to triclosan. “Hazardous” must mean different things to different people.

Consider these factors:

  • “The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic,”  Dr. Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, professor of cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis, said in a press release last month. He continued, “Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models.”
  • According to Medical Daily,  80 percent of United States’ children’s urine contains detectable amounts of triclosan. So, in my son’s classroom of 30 kids, about 24 of them have detectable amounts of triclosan in their urine. I guess the other six kids have mothers more like us.
  • Doses of  triclosan needed to diminish muscle strength and blood flow in mice roughly matched those already measured in people in some parts of the United States.
  • When skin flora gets messed up, we’re more prone to skin infections.
  • When gut flora gets messed up, things really start to fall apart. For several weeks worth of reading on that subject, just Google “gut flora disease.”

Like I said, the word “hazardous” clearly means different things to the FDA than it does to people that are capable of seeing cause and effect chain reactions.


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