Wash your hands for 20 seconds while you’re singing Happy Birthday with anti-bacterial soap to make sure you kill cold and flu viruses… This is the age-old advice that many of us have heard over and over again since we were kids. But now there is a new turn of events. Seems that the anti-bacterial ingredient that many manufacturers have been adding to our soap, toothpaste and even our clothing and pots and pans is not all that good for us after all. What’s this dangerous ingredient and what does it do to our health? Triclosan, and quite a bit actually. What are some of the products containing triclosan? Keep reading to find out.
What is Triclosan Anyway?
Triclosan is chlorinated bisphenol made from petroleum derivatives. It was actually first created to be a pesticide, but is now mostly used as an anti-microbial agent and/or a preservative. Triclosan is found mostly in soaps of all kinds (hand wash, body wash, laundry soap, etc…), but is also in toothpaste, mouthwashes, deodorants/antiperspirants, cosmetics/makeup, plastics (kitchen utensils, toys, trash bags, etc…), clothing, mattresses…the list goes on and on.
Dangers of Products Containing Triclosan
The main danger of triclosan is that over the long-term, it acts as a hormone disruptor that has been linked to developmental and reproductive problems. Some studies have also linked it to a carcinogen because of the reaction it can have with chlorine treated tap water. Triclosan might also contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs, making “super bugs” like MRSA harder to treat.
FDA Ban on Triclosan
Late in 2016 the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) banned the sale of 19 different antibacterial chemicals, including triclosan, in soaps and body washes. There was not enough proof that they were more effective or safer than using regular soap and water. The FDA also went on to say that the health risks of triclosan were significant enough to warrant the ban and that long-term use could lead to bacterial resistance.
How to Avoid Triclosan
This new ban is wonderful news, but most people (including me) don’t think this ban goes far enough. This ban only covers consumer body washes and soaps with triclosan, not the hundreds of other products where triclosan lurks – especially toothpaste that many of us use twice daily, in our mouths no less.
In order to really try to avoid triclosan, you are going to have to do your own research on products containing triclosan. Read the labels of all of the products you buy. Look for triclosan in any consumer products or watch out for antibacterial or odor fighting marketing terminology. On hard goods, also look out for Biofresh or Microban.
Soap and Toothpaste without Triclosan
The good news is that there are a ton of products on the market that don’t have triclosan in them. Below are a few of my favorite soaps and toothpaste without triclosan.
Dr. Bronner’s is one of my all-time favorite “soap for many uses”. It can be used as a shampoo, face wash, body wash, house-hold cleaner, etc… Check out my post The 10 Best Uses for Castile Soap for more great ideas.
I’m also a big fan of Shea Moisture products. They have great scents without the toxic chemicals. I especially like the Sea Kelp and Pearl Protein scent.
Tom’s of Main is a standard for clean products, ranging from toothpaste to deodorant. They have great options for toothpaste, with or without fluoride.
Kiss My Face is another great company that has a range of clean products. Their toothpaste is especially popular.
There are a lot of other options out there that I would definitely recommend, but the few listed above should give you a great place to start. Just by ridding your home of this one chemical as best as you can is a huge step towards living a little bit cleaner – 80% cleaner. 😉
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I recommend these products because they are products that I personally use or companies that I have found trustworthy.