Could you have your columnist Dr. Allen-Bergman, who writes Fit & Fab, discuss the chemical triclosan and why it is present in so many products including soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, hand sanitizers and even computer keyboards, mattresses and toys?
The Star Journal asked Dr. Allen-Bergman, a Hodag Buyer’s Guide columnist, chiropractor and nutritional counselor, this question. She responded:
“Triclosan is a chemical ingredient used to kill bacteria in many personal care products. From toothpaste to computer keyboards, and many things in between, this toxic chemical has been linked to heart disease and even heart failure in a recent study. In this University of California Davis study, it was found that this chemical is actually already in 7 percent of Americans’ urine. We are being exposed not only by our typical household products, but also via the environment. This chemical is now found in rivers, lakes, streams and the sewage sludge that is used as fertilizer on agricultural fields.
“Just how bad is it? Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency. It is currently still registered as such, although it is also used in many industrial factories as an antimicrobial to apply to conveyor belts, fire hoses, toys, clothes, carpeting and many more. Triclosan is also being shown to alter hormone regulation. In a study done by Toxicological Sciences, triclosan was shown to affect estrogen-mediated responses, and many chemicals that imitate estrogen are known to increase breast cancer risk. It was also shown to decrease the effectiveness of thyroid hormones, even at extremely low levels (0.15 parts per billion).
“Because the EPA has registered triclosan as a pesticide, and after looking at the current research, they have decided to start a comprehensive review starting in 2013. This is good, but as for right now, there is nothing being done about the flood of this chemical into our bodies and environment.
“House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise M. Slaughter called on the FDA to enact a ban on triclosan because of the fact that three-fourths of the U.S. population has it in their bodies. The reasons for the ban included its impact on our bodies, the bacterial resistance to antibiotic medications and antibacterial cleaners, etc., the endocrine/hormone disruption issue, wastewater contamination, ecological balance disruption, and the fact that triclosan is no more effective than good old-fashioned soap and water! There is zero evidence right now that adding an antimicrobial product like triclosan to your hand soap will cause it to kill more ‘germs.’ Interestingly enough, there is evidence that plain soap is more effective than the antibacterial soaps! Hmmmmm…
“What to do? Just check your labels! Products that contain triclosan must list it on the label. There are now over 140 household products that contain it. But truly, if you’re having to read tons of words you can’t pronounce or understand on the ingredient label, you really shouldn’t be using that product anyway. Moral of the story: Be an informed consumer and be the change you wish to see in our world!”