Caution: Triclosan Dangers On Board
TOOTHPASTE RESEARCH HIDDEN
In a lawsuit brought forward earlier this year, the Freedom of Information Act was able to obtain the 35 pages of Colgate’s Total toothpaste research and studies (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Application 20231, July 11, 1997). What was exposed in this report is cause for great concern. David Kessler, former Commissioner of the FDA says, “it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to assure its product is safe and the relevant information is made public.” In other words, companies are allowed to regulate themselves and decide whether or not a product is safe. They are looking out for their pocketbook, but who’s looking out for the consumer?
WHAT DID THE REPORT REVEAL
The report revealed that the chemical, Triclosan, was in Colgate Total toothpaste. What is Triclosan? Triclosan “has been linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals” (http://money.msn.com/business-news). It is an antibacterial agent, linked to “abnormalities with the endocrine system, particularly with thryroid hormone signaling, weakening of the immune system, birth defects, uncontrolled cell growth, and unhealthy weight loss” (http://drbenkim.com). The problem then is how much oversight is the FDA actually doing to ensure the safety of the products being released by companies for public use. The FDA is relying on company-based research to prove their products are safe to use. What was revealed in the research report by Colgate (Proctor & Gamble) raises questions that we all must pay attention to. This product was approved over 17 years ago, and only now after a lawsuit was filedare we able to see what was in that research. What guarantees do we have that this product is safe, none.
DANGERS OF TRICLOSAN TO THE ENVIRONMENT
I collected all the following from beyondpesticides.org/antibacterial. I learned that when we use products with Triclosan, 95% of these products are disposed of in residential drains. In a U.S. Geological survey of wastewater contaminants in US streams; Triclosan was one of the most frequently detected and it was detected at some of the highest concentrations. When Triclosan in streams and other waterways is exposed to sunlight where it converts to dioxin, a highly toxic compound is the result. When Triclosan is combined with our drinking water that contains chlorine, it forms chloroform, which is listed as a probable human carcinogen. Triclosan is highly toxic to algae, keystone organisms and has been detected in high concentrations in earthworms, meaning it is finding its way into the ground structure too. That keystone organisms are mentioned is important because, according to http://education.nationalgeographic.com, keystone organisms are any plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Any keystone species that disappears will start a domino effect and other species will also disappear and become extinct.
TRICLOSAN IN PRODUCTS
What is frightening is that according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) companies are only required to list Triclosan on hand soaps and toothpastes. But, “in many other products, Triclosan may simply fall under the label of preservative. It’s also used in other products that you wouldn’t normally think of – cutting boards, shoes, shopping carts, and bath tubs, it’s hard to avoid it” says Mae Wu, an attorney for the NRDC Health Program.
With all these health risks to “infants, federal regulators have approved a hormone-disrupting pesticide, Triclosan, for use in 140 different types of consumer products including liquid hand soap, toothpaste, undergarments and children’s toys. This exposure has been allowed despite the fact that the chemical ends up in mother’s breast milk and poses toxicity to fetal and childhood development” from www.ewg.org. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has allowed this pesticide to be applied to numerous products we use on a regular basis, like credit cards, blankets, and such. Some brand names may surprise you, as they did me: Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser, Naturade Aloe Vera 80 Antibacterial Soap, Phisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser, Reach Antibacterial toothbrush, Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb, Revlon Colorstay Lipshine Plus Gloss, Old Spice High Endurance Stick Deodorant, Right Guard Sport Deodorant, Gillette Complete Skin Care Multigel Aerosol Shave Gel, Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel, Nexcare First Aid, Solarcaine, Fruit of the Loom socks, Playskool, Roll N’Rattle Ball, Animal Sounds Phone, Busy Beads Pal, Thomasville furniture, Dupont air filters, and Bionare Cool Mist Humidifier to name just a few. You can find a more complete listing at BeyondPesticides.org.
WHAT CAN WE DO
If you’re interested in checking the research for yourself, a good place is begin is
www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredent/706623/Triclosan. Here you can read the research and support for the concerns about endocrine disruption, allergies immunotoxicity, irritations and more.
What we can do first, is to stop using antibacterial soap. Next, read ingredient labels, making sure they are free of Triclosan and Triclocarban, its chemical cousin. Also, we can stop using antibacterial products that make claims like “odor-fighting.”
CAUTION: KEEP INFORMED
Staying educated about what is going into common products, like toothpaste, has become a personal responsibility. No longer can we depend upon an agency to supply us with the truth. In 2016 the FDA is scheduled to determine whether or not to increase the regulation of Triclosan. In the meantime, I will continue Giving Back information about Triclosan as it becomes available. As Dr. Mercola puts it, “while you’re disinfecting your body and your home to keep your family safe from potentially harmful bacteria, you may actually be causing far more harm than good in the long run.” We need to remain diligent to protect ourselves, our environment and our families from dangerous chemicals such as Triclosan.