Triclosan in Antibacterial Soaps May Actually Be Bad For You

Those who know me personally know my suspicion that antibacterial soaps are the work of the devil himself.

In a nutshell: a) they don't work because you have to leave it on your skin for 2 minutes for it to work. Ever done that? b) they kill off the good bacteria that defend your body against truly harmful ones and c) they promote resistance to bactericidal agents over time.

Anyhoo, I'm going to add this to my list of bad things about antibacterial soaps: triclosan, the antibacterial chemical used in many consumer products, may interfere with the body's endocrine system.

The FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency say they are taking a fresh look at triclosan, which is so ubiquitous that is found in the urine of 75 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The reassessment is the latest signal that the Obama administration is willing to reevaluate the possible health impacts of chemicals that have been in widespread use.

In a letter to a congressman that was obtained by The Washington Post, the FDA said that recent scientific studies raise questions about whether triclosan disrupts the body's endocrine system and whether it helps to create bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. An advisory panel to the FDA said in 2005 that there was no evidence the antibacterial soaps work better than regular soap and water.


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Two things. First, your "a" and "b" comments are mutually exclusive: either they do work, and they kill off good bacteria, or they don't work, and don't kill off good bacteria (the latter is true).

Second, alcohol-based hand sanitizers DO work if you leave them on your hands for 20-30 seconds, which isn't really such a horrible amount of time if you are about to eat and aren't near a sink to wash your hands.

Also, I heard about some neat technology that kills microbes on hands with some sort of harmless radiation. Only problem there would be the killing of the beneficial bacteria, but in a hospital setting that might be necessary. Also, no possibility of resistance.
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Thank God! I'm not the only one paying attention here. The same goes for that hand-sanitizer crap. Future generations will wonder what the H-E-double hockey-sticks the personal products industry was thinking when they read about antibacterial soap & hand-sanitizer. They'll react as we do when we hear of cocaine in Coca-Cola and patent medicines full of radium.
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You also forget that the term Anti-Bacterial is a loose definition at best. That's one reason most anti-bacterial things don't work well. Disinfectants like bleach and alcohol are what you really want. Technically , water, sunlight, urine, a tissue... can all be considered anti-bacterial. But when it's all said and done, even after a disinfectant is used on your countertop, the germs are all back in only 2 hours. The good it does do though is prevent the really bad bacterias from overrunning things.
Soap and water for your hands and face, disinfectants for everything else. Simple.
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I'm with you all (most of you, anyway) on this one. They're bad for you. Period. I avoid them.
And as far as the dishwashing sponges, scrubbies- bleach them, microwave them... or, here's a thought- replace them.
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