ecostore New Zealand Blog
One of the chemicals that’s coming under closer scrutiny from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the moment is an antibacterial chemical called Triclosan and it’s everywhere. As well as being used in many brands of soap, toothpaste and other body care products, Triclosan is also found in other consumer goods like rubbish bags, toys, linen and even mattresses and the harmful effects it could be having on our health and environment are serious. According to retired dentist Dan Kingsbury;
Triclosan is a skin-permeable antibiotic and antifungal that is suspected to interfere with regular hormone function and can irritate skin and eyes. Triclosan is toxic to the aquatic environment where it remains for a long time, often forming other nasty chemicals like chlorophenols, polychlorinated furans and dioxins that bioaccumulate and become both carcinogenic and toxic. Source: David Suzuki Foundation
The FDA is questioning the effectiveness and safety of Triclosan, they say:
a. It has not been proven to be any more effective at getting rid of germs than ordinary soap and water.
That’s because it was originally designed to be used at much higher concentration in hospital environments but has proven to be less effective in diluted form for consumer goods.
b. It could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.
Bacterial resistance can happen as a result of killing off the weaker strains of bacteria and selecting for stronger more resistant strains to survive and thrive. Chemicals that mimic the natural hormones produced by the body are known as Endocrine disrupting Chemicals or EDC’s and can interfere with healthy development.
The FDA say they are now requiring companies to prove an ingredients effectiveness and safety before including it – which points to the much bigger issue that consumers might have naturally assumed this was already the case – that legislation is in place to protect us from harm. It simply isn’t, and change when it does happen, can be slow. The FDA first proposed removing Triclosan from some products over 30 years ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council points out, but no final action on this has meant its use has continued and grown.
In the absence of tighter legislation to protect us from unsafe chemicals like Triclosan we need to rethink our basic assumptions about the safety of everyday products. Unless we want to be treated like guinea pigs, we need to start reading labels and finding out what’s in the products we use. Always look for a full list of ingredients and use antibacterial products sparingly as needed rather than routinely.
A full list of nasty chemicals to avoid can be found at nonastychemicals.org
The use of unsafe chemicals in everyday products is a major health issue that affects families, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it.