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What is Triclosan and Why Should You Avoid It?

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent – it inhibits the growth of bacteria.

It’s used in consumer products to give them ‘antibacterial’ properties, for example, chopping boards and kitchen bin liners. However, it’s also in other products like bedding, socks and hand santizers. It’s used in toothpaste (12 hour antibacterial protection against plaque!), deodorants, mouthwashes and shaving creams. Triclosan is used in all sorts of things.

Do you have any products at home that are marked ‘Microban’ or ‘BioFresh’? These are both different names for the same antibacterial agent – Triclosan.

What’s the problem with Triclosan?

It’s been linked to allergies in children, decreased fertility, birth defects and damage to major body organs, including liver toxicity.

It ends up in our waterways, where it is toxic to aquatic bacteria (the good stuff).

Triclosan can combine with the chlorine in water to make chloroform gas.

The use of Triclosan may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics (the rise of ‘superbugs’).

How Do You Avoid Triclosan?

Don’t buy antibacterial products. Check the ingredients – Triclosan should be marked as an ‘active ingredient’. Look out for things that are marked as ‘fights germs’ or ‘fights odours’ or ‘keeps food fresher, longer’.

Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the FDA have said that there is nothing to show that antibacterial products containing Triclosan work any better at killing bacteria than plain old soap and water.

Add a drop of tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil. Both of these are naturally antibacterial, without all the nasty side effects.

Use your common sense! You really don’t need antibacterial socks. You just need to wash them regularly.

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm

EWG: http://www.ewg.org/triclosanguide

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-triclosan.htm

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