Today Americans are leading more health conscious lives than ever before, but it is not just by eating healthier foods and putting more physical activities into their leisure time, people are more aware of what they put in, on and around their bodies too. Toxic chemicals can not only found in the food and drinks we consume, but also in the household products we use in our every day lives.
What is Triclosan?
One such toxic chemical is triclosan which is found in many household products in the United States. Triclosan was first registered in 1969 with the EPA as a pesticide, and for that matter still is. But today triclosan is a high production volume ingredient that is utilized as a bactericide found in household and personal care products such as:
- Hair products
- Shaving cream
- Cleaning supplies
- Liquid hand soaps
- Kitchen utensils
- Trash bags.
There is no doubt that triclosan is making its way into our bodies. The Centers for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey conducted in 2003 – 2004 indicated that triclosan was found in 75 percent of people studied and detectable levels were found in breast milk. The study also indicated that the highest levels of triclosan was found in people with the highest income levels, though no conclusions were found as to why that is.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a paper on the recent animal and human studies conducted by researchers from the University of California, Davis which concluded that triclosan impairs muscle function by hindering human muscle contractions at the cellular level. Lead author of the paper, Isaac Pessah said, “Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment.” “These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”
Another major development has been the declaration by the FDA that the use of antibacterial soaps is no more effective than washing your hands with conventional soap and water. Furthermore, the FDA is currently conducting a risk assessment for the use of the chemical triclosan. “Triclosan can be useful in some instances, however it has become a ubiquitous ‘value added’ marketing factor that actually could be more harmful than helpful,” according to co-author Bruce Hammock. “At the very least, our findings call for a dramatic reduction in its use.”
Unfortunately to date triclosan is still being widely used and neither the CDC nor the FDA has taken any meaningful steps to remove this highly toxic chemical from our daily household products. That leaves it up to the consumer to protect themselves and their loved ones from this hazardous chemical by reading the labels of the products you purchase. One easy fix is to simply stop purchasing any product that says antibacterial on the label, but many manufacturers are removing it from the label because of the controversy. So you will have to take it a step further and read the tiny print in the ingredients list, manufacturers are required to include it in the ingredients if it is present in the product. Purchasing a pocket-size magnifying glass might be a good investment for perusing those ingredient lists. A letter urging action on banning triclosan to your local and state representatives and the FDA couldn’t hurt either.