Have you heard the word triclosan (tric-lo-san)? Do you know what it is?
What Is It?
Triclosan (or sometimes triclocarban) is an ingredient added to many items with the intention of preventing or reducing bacteria. The most common item you might find triclosan is anti-bacterial soaps. But it appears in many other products including toothpaste, soaps, body washes, clothing and some cosmetics.
Is It Safe?
Honestly, the jury is out on this as it is with so many additives in our food and personal care products. The testing just hasn’t been done. For years, environmental groups have urged manufacturers and FDA to remove triclosan from products. Their reasons, several studies have indicated that the repeated use of triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption and contributed to anti-biotic resistant bacteria.
In 2010, FDA determined that triclosan in hand soap was no more effective against bacteria than washing with plain soap and water. FDA also recently announced that they will be taking a closer look at anti-bacterial soaps. According to the FDA website: “There are indications that certain ingredients in these soaps may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and may have unanticipated hormonal effects that are of concern to FDA”.
But until manufacturers remove triclosan from products, what can you do……
How to Avoid Triclosan
READ THE LABELS of every kind of personal care product you have or want to purchase – toothpaste, soaps, body washes, deodorant. Look especially closely at anything labeled “anti-bacterial”. Even some clothing and kitchen tools now contain triclosan. If it is an ingredient, find an alternative without triclosan.
From FDA: “Most antibacterial products have the word “antibacterial” on the label. Also, a Drug Facts label on a soap or body wash is a sure sign a product contains antibacterial ingredients. Cosmetics must list the ingredients, but are not required to carry a Drug Facts Label.”
The Environmental Working Group has a great database called skin deep. It’s is a good way to look for safer alternatives. They even have an app!
Are you concerned about triclosan? Have you found safer alternatives?