Washing your hands with antibacterial soap could be harmful, revealed by US study. A chemical found in many liquid hand washes and other basic household products like shampoos and toothpaste has been linked to cancer. The name of this chemical is ‘Triclosan’. It is an antimicrobial agent of broad-spectrum and one of the most common additives used in a wide range of consumer products, it is widely used to prevent the growth of bacteria, most manufacturers add these ingredients to prevent bacteria from growing in or on their products.
What you need to know
List from Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
- Found in: Antibacterial soaps and detergents, toothpaste and tooth whitening products, antiperspirants/deodorants, shaving products, creams, color cosmetics
- What to look for on the label: Triclosan
- Health concerns: Endocrine disruption, allergies and immunotoxicity, bioaccumulation, organ system toxicity, irritation, cancer
- Vulnerable populations: Pregnant women and breastfeeding
- Regulations: Restricted in cosmetics in Canada and Japan
Triclosan doesn’t get rid of germs any better than regular soap
The pure fact is that Triclosan does not have to be an essential ingredient in an anti-bacterial hand wash product. “Study after study has found that all soaps are antibacterial, and hands that are washed with a regular hand wash are just as clean and germ-free as hands washed with soap that contains triclosan.” – About Home.
Triclosan is not good for the environment either
“Triclosan’s increasing detection in environmental samples and its increasingly broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people, as it does in mice, particularly when combined with other compounds with similar action,” study leader Professor Robert H.
Tukey stated in a press release. The full study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.
- Tukey found that triclosan disrupted liver integrity, compromising liver function in mouse models. Mice exposed to the chemical for six months (roughly said to be equivalent to 18 human years) were more susceptible to chemical-induced liver tumors. Their tumors also proved to be larger and more frequent than in mice not exposed to triclosan.
- The researchers say triclosan may cause harm when interfering with a protein responsible for detoxifying foreign chemicals in the body, the so called constitutive androstane receptor. As a result, liver cells proliferate and turn fibrotic. In the long run, continued liver fibrosis boosts tumor formation.
- Triclosan is under scrutiny by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency stated on its website that while it currently doesn’t have evidence that triclosan added to antibacterial soaps and body washes provides extra health benefits over soap and water, “Consumers concerned about using hand and body soaps with triclosan should wash with regular soap and water.”
- The US scientists also recommend avoiding products that contain triclosan, except for toothpaste where the amount used is small.
- “We could reduce most human and environmental exposures by eliminating uses of triclosan that are high volume, but of low benefits, such as inclusion in liquid hand soaps,” one of the researchers, Professor Bruce D. Hammock of the University of California said.
Choose a Hand Wash that doesn’t contain Triclosan
It is our responsibility as a manufacturer and as a human being to urge consumers to read the label of products that they purchase. We have done our ultimate best to ensure that our own ingredients are safe, stable and sustainable toward our environment, which is why we are proud to have manufactured our Hand Wash to be Triclosan-FREE!