Is your soap harmful to your skin? Is your soap harmful to the environment? What about your toothpaste?
Depending on what brand of soap you use, it certainly might be possible. A new study out today from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, is focused on triclosan, an antimicrobial ingredient commonly found in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and many other household items. Researchers found potentially serious consequences of long-term exposure to triclosan. So if you have been loyal to the same brand of soap, for example, over much of your life, you may want to think about finding a new brand, pronto.
Here’s how your soap is harmful to your health. The study shows that triclosan causes liver fibrosis and cancer in mice through methods that are also relevant in the human body. Mice exposed to triclosan for six months (which is the rough equivalent of 18 human years) were more susceptible to liver tumors. Their tumors were also larger and more frequent than in mice not exposed to triclosan. The study suggests triclosan may interfere with a protein responsible for detoxifying foreign chemicals in the body, allowing for chemical-induced liver tumors to develop over time.
The dangers of triclosan don’t stop there, nor does the cancer-triclosan connection. Another study from earlier this year showed that triclosan, as well as another commercial substance called octylphenol, promoted the growth of human breast cancer cells in and breast cancer tumors in mice.
And yet the FDA has still not banned triclosan.
Triclosan is widely used in everyday household products. So much so, in fact, that studies have found traces of triclosan in 97% of breast milk samples from lactating women and in the urine of nearly 75% of people tested. It is also among the seven most frequently detected compounds in streams across the United States. A study from this past August found that handwashing with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significantly higher than average levels of triclosan. It has also been found more commonly in toothpastes, as a recent report showed its effectiveness in helping to fight off plaque, gingivitis and tooth decay compared to fluoride toothpaste without triclosan.
According to BeyondPesticides.org, the following products may contain triclosan. Please note that this list has not been verified. Some brands may have begun to reformulate their products to eliminate the chemical, so be sure to check the ingredient list or check with the brand directly. Some companies, such as Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, have announced that they are phasing out the compound from some products, but that does not mean they are off the market just yet. So check the list. Is your brand on it?
Products Containing Triclosan:
Soap: Dial® Liquid handsoap and bodywash; Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap; Clearasil® Daily Face Wash; Dermalogica® Skin Purifying Wipes; DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap; CVS Antibacterial Soap, Ajax Antibacterial Dishsoap, Ultra Concentrated Dawn Antibacterial Dishsoap, Kimcare Antibacterial Clear Soap, Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Hand Soaps, Gels and Foaming Sanitizers.
Dental Care: Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Daily Mouthwash; Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush
Cosmetics: Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation; Mavala Lip Base; Movate® Skin Litening Cream HQ; Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb, Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss, Babor Volume Mascara, Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Moisturizing Lotions.
Deodorant: Arm and Hammer® Essentials Natural Deodorant; Queen Helene® Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant; DeCleor Deodorant Stick; Epoch® Deodorant with Citrisomes.
First Aid: SyDERMA® Skin Protectant plus First Aid Antiseptic; Healwell Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint; Solarcaine® First Aid Medicated Spray; Nexcare™ First Aid, Skin Crack Care; : Universal Cervical Collar with Microban.
Kitchenware: Farberware® Microban Cutting Boards; Franklin Machine Products FMP Ice Cream Scoop SZ 20 Microban; Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer; Chix® Food Service Wipes with Microban; Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads.
Other Personal Care Products: Murad Acne Complex® Kit, ®; Diabet-x™ Cream; Scunci Microban Comb, Sportslick Pocket Slick.
Clothes: Biofresh® socks, undergarments, tops and bottoms.
Office and School Products: Ticonderoga® Pencils with Microban Protection, Avery® Touchgaurd View Binders, C-line® products, Clauss® cutting instruments, Costco® products, Sharp® printing calculators. Westcott® scissors
Other: Bionare® Cool Mist Humidifier; Deciguard AB® Antimicrobial Ear Plugs; Bauer® Re-Akt hockey helmet and 7500 hockey helment; Miller Paint Acro Pure Interior Paint; Holmes Foot Buddy™ HMH120U Antimicrobial Foot Buddy Foot Warmer, Blue Mountain Wall Coverings, California Paints®, Davis Paint® Perfection, Hirschfield’s Paint®,O’Leary Paint®, EHC AMRail Escalator Handrails, Dupont™ Air Filters, Winix Dehumidifiers, J Cloth® towels, select Quickie cleaning products, Kimberly Clark® WYPALL X80 Towels, Canopy® kitchen towels, ALUF Plastics®, BioEars earplugs, Petmate® LeBistro feeders and waterers, Infantino cart covers and baby carriers, Oreck XL®, Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum™, NuTone® Central Vacuum systems, Rival® Seal-A-Meal® Vacuum Food Sealer, CleenFreek SportsHygiene Yoga Mat, Resilite Sports Products, Rubbermaid® Coolers, Stufitts sports gear, Venture Products® fitness mats, Custom Building Products, DAP®Kwik Seal Plus®, Laticrete, Niasa Biquichamp® mortar grout and sealant, ProAdvanced Products.