Yet Another Ingredient to Worry About

Triclosan.  I’d heard of it, mostly from products advertising that they DON’T contain it, but I hadn’t ever really paid attention – until I saw a blurb in one of my magazines about how I should avoid it.  Here’s what I found out…

Purpose:  It helps to slow or stop the growth of mildew, fungi, and bacteria.  When you see “anti-microbial” in advertising, that’s what they’re talking about. It was originally developed for surgical procedures and use in pesticides.  But now it’s made its way into many everyday-use products.

Products:  Hand soaps, dish soaps, and hand sanitizers.  (Probably what you expected, right?) But also:  toothpaste, shave gel, cosmetics, clothes, bedding, and much more.  The “Microban” brand name uses triclosan to achieve its results.  For example, my kitchen and master bath countertops (Silestone) contain Microban.  (Ugh – I cut food on those countertops!)

Concerns:  In 2012, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration said the research indicated “valid concerns” about the use of triclosan in consumer products.  Some studies on animals found that exposure to triclosan caused reduced heart function and overall muscular strength, as well as skeletal weakness. Another study found disruption of immune systems and an increase in the likelihood of allergy-related problems.

The Good News:  There are lots of sanitizing products that don’t contain triclosan.  My intial reaction to the “avoid triclosan!” warning was “Oh no – I use hand sanitizer ALL THE TIME!”  When I checked the ingredients, I found that none of the hand sanitizers I’ve purchased recently (including Bath & Body Works and Purell) contain triclosan.  However, the older Bath & Body Works products do contain triclosan, including some of the “pocket bac” items.  (I sometimes use the older, larger bottles to refill my newer, little ones – guess I won’t be doing that anymore!)

Suggestion:  Check your products.  You probably can’t afford to throw out your mattress, countertops, and entire workout wardrobe if it contains triclosan, but you can (affordably) avoid using the products that come into direct contact with your skin.

In Summary:  I guess I’m going to have to spend more time reading labels.  I already avoid high fructose corn syrup, parabens, and made in China stuff – if it’s going on my skin.  Now I have to add triclosan to the list.  Great.  I really wish I knew all this before I spent thousands of dollars on those countertops…

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1 Comment

  1. Yeah, I’ve read some bad things about Triclosan too.


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