If you have read any of my work in the past, you know that my focus is cutting harmful chemicals from your home. You can get your own copy of my Healthy Home Checklist and see that I’ve already been talking about these chemicals the FDA is finally banning.
UPDATE! Check out this new information from Smithsonian
Studies have shown that the chemical (triclosan) can disrupt the endocrine systems of several different animals, binding to receptor sites in the body, which prevents the thyroid hormone from functioning normally. Additionally, triclosan penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream more easily than previously thought, and has turned up everywhere from aquatic environments to human breast milk in troubling quantities.
To this list of concerns, add one more: A new paper, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that triclosan impairs muscle function in both animals and humans. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California, Davis, found that the chemical hinders human muscle contractions at the cellular level and inhibits normal muscle functioning in both fish and mice.
“Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment,” said lead author Isaac Pessah. “These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”
In the first phase of the study, the researchers exposed individual human muscle cells, both from the heart and typical skeletal muscles, to concentrations of triclosan similar to what our bodies experience in everyday life. Then, they used electrical stimulation to cause the muscle cells to contract. Normally, electrical stimulations prompts an immediate muscle contraction—a mechanism that is responsible for the entirety of our muscle activity. In the isolated cells, though, exposure to triclosan disrupted communication between two proteins crucial for proper muscle functioning, causing failure in both the heart and skeletal muscle cells.
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In a little under a year, soaps containing antibacterial ingredients like triclosan will be gone from store shelves. The US Food and Drug Administration announced a rule today that it’s no longer considering these ingredients safe and effective in soaps sold to consumers.
“We’ve long recommended that you stick to plain old soap and water, since regular soap does a fine job of washing away germs. The antibacterial ingredients might also pose risks to your health and to the environment.”
Wait, what? A year? They are saying, “Hey this is poisoning you and your kids, but ya know, it’s OK for another year until we get rid of it.” Well, they sort of spell it out here, but what if the effect is cumulative?
“Years ago, the FDA allowed the sale of these soaps because the chemicals in them are fairly safe, and a few squirts of soap aren’t likely to hurt anyone. Their use became so widespread, though, that triclosan has been found in human milk and dolphins’ blood. Most freshwater streams are contaminated with it. Triclosan kills both “good” and “bad” bacteria, and it may be encouraging germs to become resistant to other antibiotics.” — Lifehacker
The United States FDA asked manufacturers in 2013 for more data on the safety and effectiveness of 22 antibacterial ingredients used in hand soaps. Today, September 2nd 2016, they announced a decision for 19 of the ingredients, including triclosan:
Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.
By September 6 of next year, those 19 ingredients won’t be legal in over-the-counter hand washes. The other three ingredients are benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol. A decision on those has been deferred to next year.
NOTE: This rule doesn’t affect hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes, baby wipes, etc. It may also be found in office and public soaps for quite some time. Hospitals will still be able to use antibacterial soaps because people there are way more likely to be infected since they have potentially open wounds, etc. Some soap makers, knowing they didn’t have a strong case, started reformulating their products right after the 2013 request for information. That means your favorite soap may have already ditched some of the antimicrobials. But how do you know?