Are You Unknowingly Using Triclosan?

Our culture is germ-obsessed. This had led companies to market all sorts of products to kill germs. We see anti-bacterial dispenser at the entrance of our local grocery store. We see anti-bacterial wipes at the gym. These little pump stations are at the airport and other transit terminals.

Antibacterial soap can do more damage than drying out your skin. Some of it contains a chemical called triclosan. Triclosan has been used as a surgical scrub in hospitals since its introduction in 1972.

The synthetic chemical boasts antibacterial properties which destroy growth of micro-organisms (bacterial and fungi). While it is fantastic for keeping medical instruments sterile, it is not so fantastic for us.

Triclosen is now found in cosmetics, soaps, toothpastes, dish detergents, and even workout clothing (you know, the materials that claim to inhibit smells?!).

Triclosan, found in many products, is known as an endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen.

Triclosan, found in many products, is known as an endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen.

Unfortunately, triclosan is known as an endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen.

It can make bacteria resistant and, because it is in so many of our products, it gets washed down the drain which means it’s yet another chemical that is greatly harming marine life.

To break it down, use of triclosan is linked to:

  • Weakened immune system

  • Uncontrolled cell growth (i.e. cancer cells)

  • Developmental and reproductive toxicity

  • Abnormal endocrine system and thyroid hormone signaling

  • Children exposed to too many antibacterial products have a greater chance of developing asthma, eczema, and allergies

To clean without a risk of using triclosan, look for natural products. Vinegar, lemon, and essential oils are great household cleaners. Washing your hands with regular soap and water for twenty seconds works is just as effective washing with as antibacterial soap.

If you’re going to use antibacterial hand soaps, stick to the natural ones such as fennel extract, tea tree oil (natural), thyme, grapefruit, and pine essential oils.

You might want to check your shelves as many products many use contain triclosan. Look out for any labels that claim “antimicrobial protection” or triclocarban which is triclosan’s cousin. Same goes for “microban.”

A smattering of products that contain triclosan include: Dial Liquid handsoap and bodywash, Tea Tree Therapy Liquid Soap, Dermalogica Skin Purifying Wipes, Colgate Total, Arm and Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant, Revlon ColourStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss, Babor Volume Mascara, and many others. Check this list for more information.

Beyond Pesticides states that many major manufacturers have “quietly been reformulating their products without triclosan.” An example of that is Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleansing Anti-Bacterial Bar which has been replaced by Cetaphil Deep Cleansing Bar. By the end of 2018, triclosan was gone from Loblaws' and Shoppers Drug Mart's President's Choice and Life Brand household and cosmetic products.

Of course, if you want to play it safe, just use natural soaps with quality ingredients found right here!