Dangers of Triclosan in Personal Care Products

The Soap You Should Never Use — But 75% of Households Do

By Dr. Mercola

Triclosan, a high production volume ingredient used as a bactericide in personal care products such as toothpaste, deodorant, and antibacterial soap, has been linked to heart disease and heart failure in a new study.

Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that “Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans.”1

What this means is that until action is taken to get this common additive out of your toiletries, you could be applying a chemical with proven toxicity to your body multiple times a day …

Triclosan Interferes With Muscle Function

Tricolsan impairs muscle function and skeletal muscle contractility, researchers report in a new study done at the University of California Davis. Although the study was done in mice, researchers said the effects of the chemical on cardiac function were “really dramatic.”

After mice were exposed to one dose of triclosan, heart muscle function was reduced by 25 percent, and grip strength was reduced by 18 percent. Fish were also exposed to triclosan – about the equivalent dose as would be accumulated in a week in the wild – and this led to poorer swimming performance. Researchers also exposed individual human muscle cells (from heart and skeletal muscles) to a triclosan dose similar to everyday-life exposure, and this, too, disrupted muscle function and caused both heart and skeletal muscles to fail.

The study’s lead author noted:2

“Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment. These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”

Triclosan May Also Alter Hormone Regulation

This ubiquitous chemical is a chlorinated aromatic compound and is used to help reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It’s commonly added to many antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes and certain cosmetics, as well as furniture, kitchenware, clothing and toys.

It would be wise to seriously question purchasing ANY product that contains triclosan as an ingredient on the label, not only because of the new muscle function finding discussed above, but also because of its potential impact on hormones.

A Toxicological Sciences study found that triclosan affected estrogen-mediated responses, and many chemicals that imitate estrogen are known to increase breast cancer risk.3 Triclosan also suppressed thyroid hormone in rats, and this is only one study in an accumulating body of research showing this chemical to be a potent endocrine disrupter.

Past research has also shown:

Exposure to triclosan disrupts thyroid hormone-associated gene expression in frogs, even at low levels (triclosan exposure at 0.15 parts per billion was enough to disrupt a hormone-signaling system in frogs)4

Triclosan decreases circulating concentrations of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) in rats5

Even the FDA states that “animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation” and that “other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”6 Although they still maintain that triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans, they are conducting a review of the chemical, the results of which they expect to release to the public in the winter of 2012.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates triclosan as a pesticide, has also announced it will undertake a comprehensive review of triclosan beginning in 2013, and notes they will “pay close attention to the ongoing endocrine research and will amend the regulatory decision if the science supports such a change.” Unfortunately, what this means for you for now is that essentially nothing is being done right now to get this chemical out of your hand soap, body wash and toothpaste.

Triclosan Was First Registered as a Pesticide

If you need more indication that triclosan is probably not the best ingredient to be brushing your teeth with or rubbing onto your underarms, consider that it was first registered with the EPA in 1969 … as a pesticide.

Today it is still registered as a pesticide, although aside from this and its uses in personal care products, it’s also widely used for industrial uses, for instance it is incorporated in conveyor belts, fire hoses, dye bath vats, or ice-making equipment as an antimicrobial pesticide, as well as added to adhesives, fabrics, vinyl, plastics (toys, toothbrushes), polyethylene, polyurethane, polypropylene, floor wax emulsions, textiles (footwear, clothing), caulking compounds, sealants, rubber, carpeting, and a wide variety of other products.7

via The Health Dangers of Triclosan in Personal Care Products.


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