Death by hand soap?
It’s no joke and worried researchers are trying to get the word out to the public about this latest health risk.
The Western world has become phobic about germs—just about any kind of germ, even good bacteria. Manufacturers of soaps and cleansers saw an opportunity to cash in on the growing concern about germs among consumers and did…to the tune of adding billions of dollars in new revenue to their bottom lines through effective marketing of fear.
Antibacterial soap became all the rage and the media accommodated the trend by hawking the products with news stories that were little more than veneers covering corporate press releases. The free publicity was worth many millions and the manufacturers of antibacterial soaps had a field day.
But the celebrations may be at an end because society as a whole may be collectively poisoning itself with the substance. It’s nearly ubiquitous in many kinds of household cleaning products from liquid hand soaps to dish washing liquids to certain types of deodorants.
What is this stuff?
It’s a chemical agent that’s antimicrobial called triclosan. It’s toxic. It’s a registered pesticide. Exposure to it can kill over time.
And it’s almost everywhere you turn.
Recent studies have revealed that triclosan tends to kill bacteria—but not 100 percent. Unfortunately, that helps create what are being called “super-bacteria” that have developed a strong resistance to both antibacterials and antibiotics. A whole slew of drug-resistant diseases are cropping up because of that including potentially deadly infections like MRSA.
Triclosan has also been proven to exacerbate children’s allergies and is toxic to fish—so keep it away from aquariums.
If none of this sounds particularly alarming, there’s more.
According to research done by Food & Water Watch, triclosan “affects reproduction in lab animals, produces toxic chemicals such as dioxin and chloroform when it reacts with other chemicals like the chlorine in water, irritates skin in humans and might even cause cancer.”
So many products contain triclosan as an antimicrobial additive that much of it ends getting flushed down drains into the nation’s water supply. When the chain of contamination is followed, the substance is not only polluting water, but food as well. It’s even interacting with the environment at the smallest levels—for instance, it’s been found in household dust.
Recently, a major environmental study discovered that triclosan has polluted 55 percent of America’s rivers endangering the fish—and a whopping 75 percent of American’s bodies!
Those numbers are very unsettling when the evidence is strengthening concerning triclosan’s carcinogenic properties.
That triclosan is toxic is not debatable. The evidence that it can kill is mounting. In fact, the evidence is now so strong that countries like Canada and Japan currently monitor and restrict triclosan’s use. Others like Germany and Denmark have issued strong advisories to consumers cautioning against its use. The European Union has weighed in on the substance by officially listing it as an irritant, dangerous to humans and the environment and deadly to aquatic life.
Despite the fact that the world is awakening to the toxic dangers of triclosan, the U.S. government has issued no restrictions on its use.
While the EPA has officially registered the toxin as a pesticide, the FDA has left it unregulated. Therefore the substance is being added to almost every U.S. personal care product that touts itself as being antibacterial or antimicrobial.
EPA officials suggest that every American cease using products that contain the toxin and is considering banning it altogether. Because of this, the FDA has finally begun to test the chemical’s effect on humans.
Hopefully, after years of constant exposure and the percentage that’s flowed into the water supply, the two agency’s efforts are not too little too late.