The overuse of antibacterial products in today’s society is truly shocking. The main ingredient, triclosan, is found everywhere, including soaps, body washes, cleaning supplies, toothpastes, make-up, etc. I find it most disturbing when I see parents wipe their babies’ hands with hand sanitizer. When I ask my friends why they do so, they explain that they are trying to prevent their child from getting sick by catching a cold or the flu.
So what really is triclosan, and why are so many people misinformed about its benefits versus triclosan dangers? Triclosan is an ingredient added to products to kill off bacteria. It is an antifungul and an antibacterial agent.
It was introduced in 1972 to hospitals, but has now found its way into numerous products sold in stores today. The biggest misconception, in my opinion, about antibacterial soap is that it will prevent someone from getting sick. Many of my friends stock up on these products during cold and flu season, but Triclosan only kills off bactria, where as cold and flu are viruses. Therefore, antibacterials soaps and such will not prevent one from catching a cold or the flu!
So are there any health benefits to using these products? Beyond Pesticides states that an” article in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, entitled “Consumer Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky?” (2007), concludes that antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps. ”
The FDA backed this up on their own site, stating, “The agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water,” the FDA wrote.
Furthermore, triclosan kill off not only the bad bacteria, but the good bacteria, as well. That’s right folks, you do need bacteria in your life to help your metabolism and for other benefits. The other issue that scientists are finding is that bacteria is getting smart and when killed off by antibacterial products, it just finds a way to morph into a more sophisticated form and come back.
The ONLY benefit ever found from triclosan was in 1997, when was was shown to prevent gingivitis. There are no other benefits!
So what are the side effects of using these products? There are too many triclosan dangers to list in this blog. Let’s just say that it’s serious enough that even the FDA is finally admitting that more studies are needed to determine what harm ir can cause. “Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation,” states the FDA.
So far, we know that triclosan may cause cancer, skin irritation, damage to body organs, such as the heart, liver, kidneys, etc., can cause hemorrhages, sterility and paralysis, and can change a body’s hormone metabolism, causing side effects as serious as coma and death.
The bottom line is that a product that has only been proven to prevent gingivitis 16 years ago is not worth using when side effects are as serious as death, especially since there are no known benefits to health or prevention!
My advice? Steer clear and wash your hands with hot water and regular soap for 15 seconds.
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