The season is here to be outside. Go for a hike, grill with some friends or take your dog for a walk. However you like to get out there, I'm sure you'll want to clean up when you come back inside. But beware of a toxic chemical that you might encounter in cleanup products on your supermarket and drugstore shelves: triclosan.
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical found in many consumer products, especially liquid hand soap and dishwashing detergent. It is also an ingredient in some toothpastes, face washes, deodorants, and even antibacterial plastics and fabrics used for things like cutting boards, gym mats and shoe insoles.
So, what's the big deal?
Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity. Even low levels may disrupt thyroid function. It can end up in lakes, rivers and other water sources where it is very toxic to aquatic life. The American Medical Association recommends against using triclosan in the home because it may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Here's just a sample of what you'll find:
Read the labels on your personal care products so you can avoid triclosan and its chemical cousin, triclocarban. And forgo antibacterial soap and other products (think toothbrushes, toys and cutting boards) that have labels like "antibacterial," "fights germs," "protects against mold," or that make claims such as "odor-fighting" or "keeps food fresher, longer."
Special thanks to Ken Cook, President of Environmental Working Group, who authored the original newsletter on June 4th, 2013. Copyright © Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org. Reproduced with permission.
True Goods Recommended Resources
- Environmental Working Group, “Pesticide in Soap, Toothpaste and Breast Milk - Is It Kid-Safe?” July 2008.
- Yang, Jeniffer (2009-08-21). "Experts concerned about dangers of antibacterial products." Globe and Mail.
- WebMD, “FDA Panel: No Advantage to Antibacterial Soap: Advisory Panel Says Regular Soap and Water Just as Effective in Preventing Illness.” October 2005.