Triclosan: Helpful antibacterial agent or harmful to people and the environment?

What's all the fuss about? Re-nest writes:


"While the debate about the potential human and environmental dangers of triclosan is still being duked out, it has not been categorized as hazardous. There are three major issues that give the FDA reason for concern. First, it is under scrutiny as an endocrine system disruptor. Second, there is the question of whether it is creating antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”. Third, triclosan levels are on the rise in our drinking water and rivers. When combined with water, triclosan produces dangerous chloroform gas that causes liver damage in humans and destroys wildlife in our environment."


While the FDA hasn't seen it as a hazard yet -- even though it is already banned in the EU -- they are currently performing tests because "several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review."


To be on the safe side, you could choose to start switching from products that contain triclosan. Re-Nest gives a list of its other forms:


* To avoid it in personal care products, look for triclosan and its alternative names: Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum. It also has a close cousin called triclocarban.


* To avoid it in plastics and clothing, look for triclosan and its alternative name Microban.


* To avoid it in acrylic fibers, look for triclosan and its alternative name Biofresh.


Alternative names quick list: Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum. It also has a close cousin called triclocarban. Microban in plastics and clothing. Biofresh in acrylic fibers.


Read more about the harmful effects of triclosan in this article by the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides and on the EPA's website.


Information via Re-Nest; photo via Business Ethics.

Used as an antibacterial agent, triclosan was once thought to be a helpful additive — until recent findings that may prove otherwise. It is currently under scrutiny by the FDA and the EU for the possible harmful side effects it can cause in human and its damaging environmental effects.

Triclosan is a chemical in powder form that is added to many products we use every day to prevent the spread of bacteria: soaps, hand sanitizers, deodorants, toothpastes, shaving creams, mouthwashes, cosmetics, tissues, pesticides, cleaning supplies, kitchen tools, toys, bedding, clothing, and trash bags. The CDC reports that use of triclosan in products has risen more than 40% in the last two years. So, unless you' use only all-natural and plant-based products, you're most likely being exposed to it on a constant basis.

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