The Dangers of Triclosan

Harmful bacteria lurks around every corner so it is important for consumer products to contain antimicrobial ingredients.  But antimicrobials like Triclosan that can cause more harm than they do good, don’t make sense.  And in the case of Triclosan, it does not even prove to be necessary or more beneficial than natural alternatives. 

What is Triclosan?

Triclosan is an antimicrobial ingredient used to reduce and prevent bacteria in consumer products.  It was originally designed for use in surgical scrubs but has been added to many other products in recent years due to its effectiveness in killing fungus and preventing odors.

Triclosan can be found in many personal care, skincare and cosmetic items including soaps, body washes, shower gels, detergents, antiperspirants, deodorants, creams, lotions, toothpastes, teeth whitening products, shaving gels and tinted cosmetics.  It is also used in kitchenware products, clothing, shoes, plastics, furniture and toys. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet banned Triclosan from products.  The agency acknowledges that further review of more recent studies is necessary to determine the toxicity of the ingredient.  It also admits that Triclosan may not have added benefits that other antimicrobial ingredients cannot achieve.  Under FDA regulations, products contain Triclosan must be listed as an ingredient on the label. 

Why is Triclosan Dangerous?

Triclosan is a prolific toxin in consumer products and contaminate our water systems.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 75% of people have Triclosan in their urine.  This is cause for concern because studies have recently indicated that Triclosan may be harmful to the endocrine system, might impair the immune system and can cause humans to become resistant to antibiotics.

Recent studies have shown that Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor even from the low doses found in consumer products.  Specifically, Triclosan may impact thyroid function.  The thyroid regulates the metabolism and ensures a balance of calcium in the body.  Thyroid hormones assist our tissues in producing proteins and encouraging oxygen used by cells.  Additionally, reproductive hormones including estrogen and androgen may be adversely affected by Triclosan.

As Triclosan becomes more widely used in consumer products, our bodies may develop a resistance to it.  But more concerning is that microorganisms do too.  This creates bacteria that is resistance to antibiotics and antibacterial solutions.  Strains of E. coli and salmonella are already resistant to triclosan.  The epidemic consequences of drug-resistant microbes are a severe health risk to all living things.

The environmental impact of Triclosan is grave as well.  Triclosan is washed down drains and accumulates in rivers, streams, lakes and oceans.  A contaminated water supply is risky to humans on several levels.  We may drink toxic Triclosan water or use it to clean ourselves.  It also enters our food system when water is used on crops.  And aquatic life is affected because fish and shellfish swim in toxic water and eat Triclosan-contaminated algae. 

Finally, like many other toxins, there is evidence that Triclosan accumulates in body tissue for a long time.  Bioaccumulation is harmful to everyone but is especially damaging to fetuses in utero that are rapidly developing vital organs. 

As the FDA admits, Triclosan may be an unnecessary ingredient.  As an antimicrobial, it works no differently than many other similar compounds.  So the question remains, why use it?  With the potential health risks, there is no reason to use Triclosan when natural alternatives are available and just as effective.  Natura Veda products do not use this toxic substance.  Our formulas include natural antimicrobials without the toxic side-effects.