Unsafe Antimicrobial Chemical?

August 15, 2012

The evidence is mounting up against triclosan, a chemical added to many household products (many of which come into intimate contact with your body) to prevent germs.

Toothpaste (it’s added to prevent gingivitis), mouthwash, deodorant, soap and kitchen appliances may all contain triclosan, and all of these provide ample opportunity for triclosan to get absorbed by the body.

So what might triclosan do? In the latest study it impaired muscle function—including that of the heart—in mice and fish. In previous studies (all involving animals) it’s been shown to be an endocrine disruptor at low doses. You’ve probably also heard of triclosan as the ingredient in toothpaste that mixes with free chlorine in tap water to make chloroform, although in very small amounts.

Unlike many of the chemicals that inundate us daily, triclosan is pretty easy to avoid! If you’re a health nut, you may have already switched to natural brands of toothpaste and deodorant, which omit many questionable chemicals (aluminum, which is often used in antiperspirants, may be linked to Alzheimer’s, which is one of the top reasons people switch). In the kitchen, be careful about what antimicrobial surfaces are using in order to be antimicrobial. Wood is always a safe choice, and anything with nanosilver particles is also safe!

In winter, even though it’s cold and flu season, try and wash your hands with regular soap—which has been shown to be just as effective. Just make sure you rub your hansd together with soap under water for at least 20-30 seconds. Try and avoid antibacterial gels and soaps.

Have you heard of triclosan before, and have you removed products containing it? Will you now? Or because of the low doses, is it no-biggie?

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