The FDA made big headlines last year when it banned the antibacterial chemical triclosan from hand soaps and body washes.
It’s linked to cancer, thyroid disorders, and fertility problems.1
We should all feel safer, right?
Actually, the ban did practically nothing to protect our health. That’s because it’s filled with loopholes to accommodate the chemical and cosmetic industry.
Triclosan is still allowed in hundreds of products. It’s in shampoos, cosmetics, deodorants, dish detergent, toys, plastic eating utensils, cutting boards, blankets, mattresses, workout clothing, bathtubs…the list is almost endless.2
The FDA even allows the chemical in toothpaste. In other words, they somehow believe that a substance that is too toxic to use on your hands is OK to put into your mouth.
200 Scientists Demand a True Triclosan Ban
Triclosan is so widespread that it’s found in the urine of 75% of Americans, according to a study by the group Environmental Health Perspectives.
Triclosan is lipophilic. This means it accumulates in your body fat over time. As you get older, you end up with more of it. And it starts to affect your health more and more.
It’s a proven endocrine disruptor. This means it can wreak havoc on your hormones.
Endocrine disruptors are known to cause cancer, fertility problems, brain disorders, thyroid disease, and many other conditions. One study found that triclosan triggered cancer in mice.3 4
An international group of 200 scientists recently signed onto a statement that calls on the FDA to institute a true ban on triclosan.
David Andrews is one of the researchers who signed the letter. He is a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, a health advocacy organization. “For decades, the American public has been led to believe that antimicrobial products would make us safer and healthier” despite evidence they do the opposite, Andrews said.5
3 Ways to Protect Yourself From Triclosan
Triclosan is used in so many products that it’s impossible completely avoid it. The Centers for Disease Control has detected it in 58% of U.S. waterways.
But here are three ways to lessen your exposure:
- Look at product labels closely. Obviously, you should avoid products with triclosan in the ingredient list. But you should also avoid its chemical cousin triclocarban, which has many of the same health-damaging effects.
- Check for these weasel words. Manufacturers of kitchenware, clothing, mattresses, blankets and other items are not required to disclose that they use triclosan. But they may have one or more these words on the label: “antimicrobial,” “antibacterial,” “germ-killing.” They often mean triclosan is in the product.
- In clothing and plastics… Avoid products with the label “Microban” or “Biofresh.” It means the items are likely made with triclosan.6
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