I didn’t even know what triclosan was up until recently, when Natural Home Magazine tweeted a link to an article listing the chemical as a reason to dislike anti-bacterial soaps. Never a fan of anti-bacterial anything (soap and water works just fine, people), I eagerly clicked on the link.
And then I was horrified.
Triclosan is officially a pesticide, and is found in a wide range of consumer products, including clothing, toothpaste, toys and, yes, liquid soap. According to the Environmental Working Group, triclosan is linked to cancer, developmental defects, and liver and inhalation toxicity, and may affect thyroid and other hormone systems (Source). Ninety-five percent of nursing mothers have traces of the chemical in their breast milk, and 75% of Americans over the age of 6 have traces in their urine (source).
Adding insult to injury, the “beneficial” use in anti-bacterial soap is marginal at best. Studies show that soap and water works just as well as antibacterials in removing bacteria from hands. (Antibacterials kill the bacteria while soap and water merely removes them, but the results are the same.) (Source.) Further, many people use anti-bacterial soaps to help stave off colds and flus… which are viruses and are not affected by antibacterials.
Further, it is believed to aid in the development of antibiotic-immune “super bugs,” and contaminates water, plants, and fish.
In short, there is nothing even remotely redeeming about the chemical.
We now have the opportunity to tell the EPA to ban triclosan. Beyond Pesticides is asking for public comment on the Ban Triclosan petition, filed by 82 public health and environmental groups. The public comment period is expiring on Monday, February 7. Visit the Beyond Pesticides blog for instructions on submitting your comment and letting the EPA know that this chemical must be banned for public safety.