When people think of green cleaning products, often they also want to get rid of germs so they are looking for antimicrobial or antibacterial hand soap. You do not need, nor want, an anti microbial or anti bacterial liquid hand soap with triclosan? You want green hand soap liquid in your collection of green cleaning products, and here is why.
There is a growing concern that the widespread use of antimicrobial or antibacterial chemicals, such as in liquid, easy to use, hand soap is promoting antibiotic resistance, which is a looming public health crisis. Tricolsan are chemicals added to personal care products, such as liquid hand soap for their so called anti bacterial properties. In fact triclosan is found in 75 percent of liquid hand soaps. The widespread use of triclosan has resulted in almost three-quarters of Americans carrying residues of this chemical in their bodies. Triclosan has been fingered in the proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria, it’s a human allergen, and it’s a known and potent hormone disruptor capable of wreaking havoc on animal and plant life—as well as human bodies. It can mess with thyroid function and reproductive hormones, which is bad news for all of us.
These antimicrobial and antibacterial chemicals have been shown to have serious consequences in laboratory animals. For instance, triclosan is found to interfere with animal’s thyroid hormone, necessary for proper growth and brain development. One report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Not Effective and Not Safe, reported the triclosan in male rats decreased sperm count, damaged the male reproductive system, and disrupted male hormone production. It is possible that these chemicals pose similar risks to humans – and already three quarters of Americans ages 6 to over 65 have triclosan in their urine, according to the report.
Furthermore within our homes, there are many chemicals that interfere with both thyroid and sex hormones, including flame retardants, BPA, and phlthalates. Hormone disruptors are found in our electronics, furniture, carpeting, food packaging, drinking water, and personal care products. We are bombarded on a daily basis with dozens of different chemicals from many different places. While one chemical by itself may not post a big health risk, it is this cumulative exposure that we are concerned about because all of these chemicals can act together as a group to cause greater harm than one alone.
What is more, the antimicrobials chemicals pollute streams and waterways where triclosan can turn into highly toxic dioxin compounds. When chemicals are washed down the drain, flowing to the septic system or water treatment plants, they end up in very high concentrations in sewage sludge. Triclosan is highly persistent in the environment, resisting breakdown for decades. This sludge spread on agricultural fields as fertilizer. One study has shown that earthworms in fields recently treated with sludge contaminated high levels of triclosan compared to earthworms from organic fields, which did not have any detectable triclosan. This is deeply concerning since worms are indicators of contaminants that are entering the food web. Learn more from the Beyond Pesticides Fact Sheet on Triclosan.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed concern in their report, Antibacterial Household Products: Cause for Concern. Finally the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns and is increasing its evaluation.
Antimicrobial Hand Soap is Not Safe | Seek Green Cleaning Products
Americans spend almost $1 billion per year on antibacterial soaps, according the NRDC. Our health and environment pay the price. The NRDC found that up to 75 percent of liquid soaps, as well as bar soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, cleansing lotions, acne creams, and wipes contain tricolsan, marketed as reducing the number of bacterial or “germs”. What is most discouraging, however, is EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) Antimicrobial Division director, Jack Housenger, revealed in 2004 that approximately half of all hospital disinfectants and sterilants, which are also regulated as antimicrobial pesticides, failed the agency’s efficacy tests.
Good hand washing techniques using regular soap and water for a full 20 seconds, as the CDC recommends. Twenty seconds may not sound like much, but that’s as long as it takes to belt out a full version of the ABCs. This is preferable to using so called antimicrobial and antibacterial soaps because it is without the health risks.
In fact the FDA has reported that it does not have evidence that triclosan added to antibacterial soaps and body washes provides extra health benefits over soap and water. They recommend that consumers concerned about using hand and body soaps with triclosan should wash with regular soap and water. Recent evidence shows that non-antibacterial soap does as good a job at cleaning hands and killing germs as the anti-bacterial products. Also the bacterial soap creates real environmental problems. It has been shown to cause sex and reproductive problems in fish, for example. There is also the long standing concern of scientists and doctors that repeated use and exposure to the antibacterial soap is creating germs that are more resistant to antibiotics.
Check the label for the ingredients. All of the added antimicrobial and antibacterial chemicals added to products must (by law) appear on the label as an active ingredient. To assist you in staying away from these anti microbial and anti bacterial chemicals, here is an abbreviated list of products containing Triclosan include: Dial® Liquid Soap; Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap; Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap; Provon® Soap; Clearasil® Daily Face Wash; Dermatologica® Skin Purifying Wipes; Clean & Clear Oil Free Foaming Facial Cleanser; DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap; Naturade Aloe Vera 80® Antibacterial Soap; CVS Antibacterial Soap, pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser, Dawn® Complete Antibacterial Dish Liquid, Ajax® Antibacterial Dish Liquid.
If you are looking for a GREAT green hand soap that works without triclosan and other antimicrobial and antibacterial, synthetic chemicals, check out the Foaming Hand Soap from wowgreen and Rochester Midland Corporation in our suite of available green cleaning products.