Well Gal

Triclosan: A Chemical to Avoid

What does toothpaste, bedding, toys, dish soap, and facial wash all have in common? They could all potentially contain Triclosan!

Triclosan is an antibacterial and bacteriocidal agent that is added to an insane number of consumer goods from cleaning products to clothing to carpet underlayments. It seems no matter where you look these days you find it.

If you see products claiming to have “antibacterial” protection built-in, be skeptical. They most likely contain Triclosan, which is often listed on the label under one of its many trade names (e.g., Ultra-Fresh, Irgasan, Microban, etc.).

Manufacturers love it since it inhibits mold, mildew, and bacteria. They can claim that their products are healthier, smell better, last longer, and require less cleaning because of it. Ironically, however, this chemical is making us sicker and polluting our environment.

Consumers, doctors, and scientists alike have serious concerns over its health and environmental effects, such as the fact that it increases allergen sensitization and is polluting our streams, for example. Even our own government, the EPA and FDA, are collaborating on research studies to re-evaluate the use of this pervasive chemical that they permitted to be used in the first place. In fact the EPA notes that it is doing its next review of Triclosan in 2013, a whole 10 years ahead of its originally scheduled date. Good thing. Banning or limiting the use of this widespread chemical definitely seems like a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, the next time you see a product that says “antibacterial” on it, put it back on the shelf if it contains Triclosan. You will do a great service by “voting” with your pocketbook and protect your health and the environment while you’re at it.

To find out more about what Triclosan is exactly, the trade names it hides under, and the research that has been done showing its negative effects on our health and the environment, check out my About.com article, “Triclosan: What It Is, How It’s Used, and Why You Should Avoid It.”

© Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2012 – 2015. All rights reserved.

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