Most of you are not aware of the hazardous and toxic pesticide lurking in your mouthwash, toothpaste, and soap. This toxic substance is known as “triclosan”, and is found in most personal hygiene products. Triclosan is an antibacterial compound/pesticide, which was first used in surgical scrubs, to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria. After several outbreaks of deadly infections, like the Staph infection, soap manufacturers soon began adding triclosan to their product lines. This ingredient has led to a whole society of users that rely heavily on antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, to kill bacteria and prevent infections. After triclosan was linked to the prevention of gingivitis, toothpaste manufacturers also began to produce oral hygiene products, containing the ingredient.
Today, triclosan is contained in almost everything from toothpaste and mouthwash to kitchen utensils and shoes. Although there is scientific evidence, supporting triclosan as an effective agent at killing bacteria and fungus; most doctors believe that the side effects from the compound outweigh the benefits. Some of these side effects include skin irritation and endocrine disruption, which ultimately affects our thyroid function (Triclosan, n.d.). Further research has also found that triclosan contaminates waterways, interferes with fetal development, and contributes to an antibiotic resistance (Before FDA Announcement, 2013). All of these possible long term effects are reasons for concern. Our dependence on antibacterial soaps has actually led to an immunity against some antibiotics. Today, Triclosan resistant bacteria have even emerged. A recent study, at the University of California at Davis, found that triclosan also deteriorates our muscles. When triclosan was introduced to mice and fish, their skeletal and cardiac muscles no longer functioned normally, and there was a reduction in their heart function.
We have become so accustomed to Triclosan that it can actually be found in almost all of our urine. In fact, the US Center for Disease confirmed that 75% of Americans, over the age of six, have Triclosan in their bodies. In December of 2013, the FDA announced that it will now require manufacturers of antibacterial soaps to prove that their products are both safe for long-term use and more effective than regular bar soap, or it will no longer remain on the market. Over the years we have had a false public perception, that the way to prevent infection and avoid bacteria is to use antibacterial agents. It is time we all become more aware of what ingredients are present in the products that we use. Following an organic lifestyle can help us avoid these dangerous chemicals. It is the FDA’s duty to ban harmful chemicals that may pose a threat to our health and safety. We all need to raise awareness, and stop using products containing this poisonous substance.