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Beware of Tricolsan in Cleaning Products

June 4th, 2013

Triclosan-2The Environmental Working Group is warning us to beware of a toxic chemical that we encounter in cleanup products on our supermarket and drugstore shelves: Triclosan.

Why do we need to be concerned about Triclosan?

Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical found in many consumer products, especially liquid hand soap and dishwashing detergent. It is also an ingredient in some toothpastes, face washes, deodorants, and even antibacterial plastics and fabrics used for things like cutting boards, gym mats and shoe insoles.

Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity. Even low levels may disrupt thyroid function. It can end up in lakes, rivers and other water sources, where it is very toxic to aquatic life. The American Medical Association recommends against using triclosan in the home because it may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics. And, researchers from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health found, after surveying 27 different studies conducted between 1980 and 2006 on the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps, that washing hands with products containing triclosan was no more effective in preventing infectious illness—and did not remove any more bacteria—than plain soaps.

How do you avoid it? Learn more about triclosan with EWG’s Healthy Home Tips!

Tip: Read the labels on your personal care products so you can avoid triclosan and its chemical cousin triclocarban. And forgo antibacterial soap and other products (think toothbrushes, toys and cutting boards) that have labels like “antibacterial,” “fights germs,” “protects against mold” or that make claims such as “odor-fighting,” or “keeps food fresher, longer.”

About the EWG: “The Environmental Working Group is the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization.  Our mission is to serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so they can make healthier choices and enjoy a cleaner environment. We use the power of information to create cutting-edge research and advocacy that transform government policies and the marketplace in order to conserve land and water, produce and use energy responsibly and ensure that food and consumer products are free of harmful chemicals. We investigate government subsidies that encourage wasteful practices, and we support policies that promote thoughtful stewardship of our land and natural resources.”

Learn more about toxins in everyday products at:

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