hand soap

Hidden Dangers Associated With Triclosan

hand soapAs friends and family members suffer with cold and flu-like symptoms this spring, you might be tempted to reach for an extra handful of antibacterial soap.

But some scientists are growing increasingly concerned that a common antibacterial ingredient, known as triclosan, may actually do more harm than good for consumers.

So, Is Triclosan Safe?

The jury is still out.

Currently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are studying the chemical’s potential danger to humans, animals and the environment.

However, several independent research studies have linked the chemical to a range of adverse health effects. Some researchers also believe that excessive exposure to triclosan may disrupt the body’s natural hormone production, interfere with muscle function and encourage the growth of even stronger bacteria.

Others worry that its buildup in the environment may pose serious consequences for wildlife ecosystems.

Minnesota First State Agency to Ban Triclosan

After Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton demanded state agencies reduce their environmental impact, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced that the state will cease the purchase of all products containing triclosan beginning in June 2013.

Banning triclosan (which has been found in increasing amounts in the sediment of Minnesota lakes and rivers) is one of many environmentally friendly initiatives planned for the state. But so far, there is no pending state legislation eliminate triclosan from consumer products such as hand soap, cleaning supplies or tooth paste.

Should You Avoid Triclosan?

It’s hard to say. Currently, there’s little hard evidence suggesting that washing your hands with triclosan or other antibacterial ingredients offers health advantages over plain soap and water.

So if you’re concerned about your long-term health, you might want to reduce your exposure — just in case.

Image Credit: Flickr