Hello and welcome to Talking Toxins with Rachel…
Toxin of the week: Triclosan
So what are they?
Antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial – used to prevent bacteria, fungi or mildew contamination in products. EPA labels it as a pesticide.
What do I find them in?
Some toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, cosmetics, acne treatments and face wash. They can be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys. They have recently been banned from liquid, foam, gel and bar soaps – “Antibacterial soap” since it has been found they do not provide any more benefit than just washing hands with regular soap and water. According to the EPA website, “Triclosan is used as a registered pesticide only in a small portion of its overall uses. In commercial, institutional, and industrial equipment uses, triclosan is incorporated in conveyor belts, fire hoses, dye bath vats, or ice-making equipment as an antimicrobial pesticide. Triclosan can be directly applied to commercial HVAC coils, where it prevents microbial growth. As a material preservative, triclosan is used in many products including adhesives, fabrics, vinyl, plastics (toys, toothbrushes), polyethylene, polyurethane, polypropylene, floor wax emulsions, textiles (footwear, clothing), caulking compounds, sealants, rubber, carpeting, and a wide variety of other products. It has been used in latex paints.”
Why should I be concerned?
In animal studies, Triclosan is a hormone disruptor (thyroid & estrogen) and skin cancer with long term use. There are ongoing studies with both the FDA and EPA regarding the effects of Triclosan on humans. The EPA website also mentions concerns with Triclosan in US streams, waterways. Studies have shown a relationship between Triclosan and bacteria resistance – overuse may be contributing to antibiotic resistance. In toothpaste it is used to prevent gingivitis.
So what can I do?
Just wash with castile or mild soap and water, try to avoid products with triclosan. There are ongoing studies by both the FDA and EPA, effects are unknown and they are continuing to investigate.
Depending on the product, monitored by the FDA and EPA. Both have current ongoing studies and the FDA in 2016 banned Triclosans from antiseptic wash products.
- FDA: https://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/triclosan/faq-20057861
- EPA: https://archive.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/web/html/triclosan_fs.html
- Ecocenter: http://www.ecocenter.org/sites/default/files/Top%20Cosmetic%20Chemicals%20to%20Avoid%2C%20LMG-EC.pdf