There are over 900 ‘new to nature’ chemicals in our environments, in our blood, and many are even in the blood of unborn children. Now, following the heightened concern regarding bisphenol A (in clear plastics, such as baby bottles), the FDA is beginning to set its sights on Triclosan. Triclosan is an antibacterial preservative used in “76% of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps”. Aside from soaps, triclosan is also used in toothpastes, cosmetics, shoes, socks, workout clothes, and many personal care products. Triclosan has been detected in the urine of 75% of Americans, 60% of US streams, and persists in the environment for at least 40 years. Animal studies show an effect of triclosan on thyroid function.
“Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation” according to the FDA, and there is no benefit to using soaps containing this chemical. Despite the fact that the European Union will prohibit its use in products that come into contact with food beginning next year, the FDA states that it “does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.” The last time I checked, we were part of the animal kingdom. It seems reasonable to conclude that there is a possibility that this chemical is part of the cause of the national epidemic of hormonal dysfunction (e.g, hypothyroidism). While the FDA is advising no change in regulation or consumer behavior until there is evidence that triclosan is harmful to humans, such studies could take years. Additionally, studies which can determine the synergistic effect of this chemical in combination with other new-to-nature concoctions will, in all likelihood, never be done.
Given the facts that a) animal studies show an effect of triclosan on thyroid function (reduction in thyroxine, testosterone and sperm counts in rats), b) triclosan is toxic to aquatic animals and plants and c) there is no benefit to using the product , I advise you to seek out products that are free of triclosan.
These products can be found at IKEA, the Body Shop, Whole Foods and Trader Joes (read the labels!). Brands that do not use triclosan include Ivory, Tom’s of Maine, Listerine Essential Care, Peelu, Weleda, Toxic Free Basics, Aveda, Clean Well, LUSH, Nature’s Gate, Vermont Country, Paul’s Organic, Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps, MiEssence, The Natural Dentist.
For more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm
Yours in health,
Dr. Robert Hedaya