I sat in on a video Q & A session with Environmental Working Group Scientist Rebecca Sutton about a study the EWG released Thursday regarding Triclosan. Triclosan, as the EWG defines it as “an antibacterial chemical found in many consumer products”. Triclosan is often listed as an active ingredient in many household items… and is in some other household things you might not think of. It can be found not only in antibacterial soaps but also in dishwashing liquid, toothpaste, toothbrushes, towels, mattresses, sponges, shower curtains, phones, kitchen ware, food containers, shoes, flooring and carpet, cutting boards, clothing and fabric (think work out gear), and toys to name a few. Anything that touts antibacterial or germ resistant is a possible source.
Why should we care? The EWG says Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and may disrupt thyroid function. Wastewater treatment does not remove all of it, its ending up in our water sources… harming fish and aquatic life. To boot, Triclosan is turning up in breast milk and could potentially present toxicity to fetal development and childhood development.
Further, studies are showing that using an antibacterial chemical does not provide any more protection than just plain ol’ soap and water. It’s more of a marketing gimmick than anything.
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with plain soap.
- Wash surfaces that contact food (e.g., utensils, cutting boards, counter tops) with a regular (not “antibacterial”) detergent and warm water.
- Wash childrens hands and toys regularly. Again, simple soap and good old-fashioned scrubbing will suffice.
You can find their full report here. This isn’t news to us here at SafeMama. We have always been on the anti-antibacterial warpath in one way or another whether it be “sanitizing” toys or going overboard with hand sanitizer. If you really need something for on the road hand washing when soap and water isn’t available, we like Clean George for an alcohol free one.
Read the full report: EWG Triclosan in Consumer Products