Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Inescapable Pesticide - In Our Toothpaste, Soap, etc.

A report released by EWG last month, suggests levels of triclosan in almost everything in our home and our surrounding. Triclosan, a pesticide with antibacterial and antifungal properties, is classified by EPA as toxic with highest scores regarding risk to both human health and the environment. It is linked to cancer, developmental defects, liver and inhalation toxicity, and allergies in children.

Triclosan is used in commercial, institutional and industrial premises and equipment (conveyor belts, fire hoses, dye bath vats and ice making equipment), residential and public access premises (brooms, mulch, floors, shower curtains, awnings, tents, mattresses, toothbrushes, toilet bowls, urinals, garbage cans, refuse container liners, insulation, concrete mixtures, grouts, air filter materials, upholstery fabrics, and rugs/carpets), and as a material preservative (in adhesives, fabrics, vinyl, latex, plastics, polyethylene, polyurethane, synthetic polymers, styrene, floor wax emulsions, rope, textiles, caulking compounds, sealants, coatings, polypropylene, rubber, inks, cellulosic materials, slurries, films and latex paints). Triclosan is found in cord blood and breast milk, in rivers and streams.
*This picture is adapted from the EWG report.

The EWG advise to do the following to avoid the triclosan:
  • Forgo antibacterial soap. The American Medical Association says not to use it at home. Watch for triclosan (and triclocarban) in personal care products.
  • Read ingredient labels or use Skin Deep to find products free of triclosan and triclocarban, its chemical cousin. On the Skin Deep you can also find products that have triclosan and/or triclocarban in the ingredients.
  • Avoid “antibacterial” products. Triclosan is used in everyday products like toothbrushes, toys, and cutting boards that may be labeled “antibacterial,” or make claims such as “odor-fighting” or “keeps food fresher, longer. Several studies showed that antimicrobial soap does not work better than plain soap and water at preventing the spread of infections or reducing bacteria on the skin.


Meg & Jen said...

this is a scary and great post. thanks for doing the homework!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. Oh! nothing is safe anymore, I need to go and throw away my Colgate toothpaste - it has triclosan in it.

Lucia said...

Hi Jen,

thank you for your comment and especially for reading the article.