Another Caution on Antibacterial Products
Triclosan, found in many personal and home products under EPA investigation.
Triclosan has been used for its antibacterial properties for more than 30 years, starting out as a surgical scrub. Since then, this synthetic, broad-spectrum, antimicrobial agent has become increasingly popular in personal hygiene products. Unfortunately, triclosan has also recently drawn a lot of regulatory, congressional, and media scrutiny.
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D. Mass.) has sent inquiries to both the EPA and the FDA because of his concern that antibacterial products are not only ineffective, but cause risks to human health and the environment. He received responses from both organizations indicating that additional research is warranted on the negative health ramifications of daily contact with the agent triclosan. (For more detailed information on this, see the Chemical and Engineering News site: pubs.acs.org/cen/news/88/i16/8816news1.html.)
In Pesticides and You, the author of The Ubiquitous Triclosan: A Common Antibacterial Agent Exposed, Aviva Glaser stated, “Studies have increasingly linked triclosan to a range of health and environmental effects, from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial and compounded antibiotic resistant, and dioxin contamination to destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems.” (See beyondpesticides. org/pesticides/factsheets/Triclosan%20cited.pdf for Glaser’s entire fact sheet.)
(For a complete list of products that contain triclosan visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and reference the Household Products Database at householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgibin/household/ brands?tbl=chem&id=201.)
While chemical agents in soaps and other products come under scrutiny, the folks at Dr. Desai Soap, LLC, in Lebanon, NJ, want people to realize that there are often safe alternatives. Many liquid and bar soaps contain triclosan, but it is not necessary to subject yourself to products that may not be completely safe when there are natural products that provide antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. Organic ingredients have been used for ages and have been time tested for their effectiveness and safety for everyone. They do not harm the environment during production or use.
Dr. Desai, a pharmaceutical scientist by profession and a naturalist at heart, is respectful of the practices of Ayurveda medicine in India. Dr. Desai has developed a soap that is ultra moisturizing, non-abrasive, and hypoallergenic and that uses the same pure essential oils and herbs that are often used in Ayurvedic science to promote health and healing.
According to Dr. Desai, “We at Dr. Desai Soap want everyone to know that there are many natural alternatives to chemically driven antibacterial ingredients. A few natural products with antibacterial and antiseptic properties include tea tree, patchouli, neem, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.”
Consumers can’t rely on the EPA, the FDA or manufacturers to make the best decisions for personal health and the safety of the environment. It has been shown time and again that product safety processes take time and are rife with health problems and pollution issues along the way. It is up to the consumer to read ingredient labels, research anything that is questionable, and make informed decisions.
Let your voice be heard in the fight to ban triclosan in products. Submit your comments by April 8 to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. (www.capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=22060651&type=AN)
This article appears in the April 2011 issue of SOM