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Why the FDA Banned Triclosan in Antibacterial Hand Soaps


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One Year to Comply

Chalk one up for the Food and Drug Administration! Because “antibacterial” soaps and liquids have not been proven to be safe, the FDA recently banned 19 ingredients, including triclosan and triclocarban, from these types of consumer product formulations. Manufacturers now have a year to remove these ingredients from their products, or else stop selling the products entirely.

This is good news for anyone concerned about these harmful chemicals that can potentially enter the bloodstream via the skin.

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in a news release. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

Indeed, animal studies of triclosan have shown that it can interfere with such important bodily functions as:

  • Thyroid hormone regulation (impacting metabolism and brain development)
  • Testosterone synthesis (decreasing sperm count)
  • Estrogen action (leading to early onset of puberty)

It may also weaken heart and skeletal muscle, and it’s been associated with hay fever and other allergies, as well as elevated body mass index in adults. Not to mention concerns that use of triclosan could lead to antibiotic resistance—or that fish exposed to it couldn’t properly swim.

Triclosan is the most common active ingredient in antibacterial consumer hand soaps on the market today. It is used in approximately 2000 different products, a whopping 93% of liquid products with the words “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” on their labels. It can also be found in other types of products, including toothpaste, lipstick, shoes and even cutting boards.

While this ban of triclosan and other ingredients from consumer products like hand soaps and sanitizers is clearly a step in the right direction, the FDA continues to evaluate similar types of triclosan-containing products, like antiseptic rubs, that are not designed to be washed off with water.

comment_2Were you aware that something as seemingly beneficial as antibacterial soap could contain such potentially harmful ingredients? We’d love to hear from you! Just leave us a comment below.

Resources:

Do you usually scan soap and other product labels to ensure they're free of triclosan?

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Karen Codrington
Karen Codrington
5 years ago

This is definitely a step in the right direction! 🙂
I hate the fact that school canteens and pre schools etc insist on using these harmful products.

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
5 years ago

Hey Karen, you’re right, it is very disheartening that hospitals, child care centers, and schools are using these harsh and harmful chemicals, but we can take tiny steps to make changes. Our church pre-school washed all the kids’ toys in bleach on a regular basis and now, they have switched to all Norwex cleaning products. Our school and child care center is also on board with Norwex as well. I’ve been hearing that hospitals are using Norwex and hydrogen peroxide instead of deadly chemicals too. We are taking steps, but it takes someone to start the conversation to make the difference. Take heart Karen…it is working. 🙂

Norine Dixon
Norine Dixon
5 years ago

I’ve been a label watcher for quite a while now, I had a great business card that had 10 big nasty chemicals printed on it so I haven’t bought anything from the supermarket shelves, soaps, toothpaste, shampoos etc for a number of years.
That’s why I love all the Norwex products, they so fit into my ethics of no or very few chemicals.

Rachel Nielsen
Rachel Nielsen
4 years ago
Reply to  Norine Dixon

Would you be willing to share the 10 chemicals that were on that card? I haven’t watched labels in the past but am becoming more aware because of Norwex. 🙂

Norine Dixon
Norine Dixon
4 years ago
Reply to  Rachel Nielsen

This was a card that I got from our local Health Shop (Down to Earth) and it came from http://www.herbfarm.co.nz. I’ve had it a very long time and this is the list of 10 nasties to avoid that first got me label watching.
Parabens -methyl, butyl, propyl and ethyl
Isopropyl Alcohol
DEA MEA and TEA
PEG polyethylene glycol
Propylene Glycol
FD and C colours (synthetic colourings )
Fragrance (often indicates synthetic scent)
Urea (Imidazolidinyl ) & DMDM Hydrant in
SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) & SLES (Sodium Lareth Sulphate
Happy label hunting Rachel.

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
5 years ago

I am blown away by this article. I was doing a party on Sunday and was telling the attendees about how unhealthy triclosan is…and now this. Thank you Amy for keeping us on top of these important issues!!

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
5 years ago
Reply to  Amy Hepfner

Thanks, Amy! We’re always looking for ways to help our members make good decisions and create safer havens for their families.

Sarah Seabolt
Sarah Seabolt
5 years ago

This is amazing information!!!! I feel like I’ve been living under a rock and it has been slowly lifting. Thank you Norwex!!!!

Jen Haralson
Jen Haralson
5 years ago

I am so glad the FDA has taken this step! I can talk to everyone I know about harmful chemicals, but the FDA has a far larger reach. Now the message about how dangerous triclosan and other ingredients are can get out to the larger public!

Danielle Popejoy
Danielle Popejoy
5 years ago

this is crazy!! I am glad that they are figuring this stuff out and helping to replace chemicals 🙂

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
4 years ago

I did not realize that Triclosan was harmful and in hand soap. I will need to look at ingredients.

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
4 years ago

I was not aware that antibacterial could be harmful. I was always purchasing it because I had children in the house. I thought it would help against germs.

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
3 years ago

It is so scary what is allowed to go into products. When I first learned of all this, I almost DIDN’T believe it, because it seems so common sense that everyone should be avoiding these chemicals!