The Ecology of Humans (3-3) Triclosan


Triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Triclosan alters hormone regulation. Triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time. ~ US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010

Antibacterial soap is a supposed hygienic shotgun that one can point at oneself: killing microbes that may be beneficial, while infusing the skin with disruptive chemicals.

Triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent, has been put into consumer products in the US since 1972. Triclosan is in liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, dishwashing liquids, shaving creams, toothpastes, and mouthwashes, as well as permeated into kitchen utensils, bedding, socks, shoe insoles, workout clothes, and toys. Any consumer product advertised as antimicrobial is infused with triclosan.

For lack of testing tykes, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found triclosan in the urine of 75% of Americans over the age of 5.

Triclosan is very stable. It lingers in the body and in the environment for a long time. ~ American microbiologist Petra Levin

Companies insist that “there was no real evidence showing that triclosan was dangerous for humans,” but that triclosan had been proven effective “in killing germs.” Alas, those supposed “germs” are what keeps a body healthy.

Triclosan is a bacteriostatic agent that targets bacteria by inhibiting their microbial fatty acid synthesis, a process necessary for reproducing and building cell membranes.

As with many agents used to scour the microbe population, bacteria adapt to develop resistance. Rather than killing bacteria, triclosan actually helps staph pathogens infect nasal passages. Triclosan has been found to promote liver tumors and cancer in mice through molecular mechanisms relevant to humans.

Triclosan has a dramatic protective effective effect on bacteria, increasing survival by several orders of magnitude in the presence of bactericidal antibiotics. ~ American microbiologist Corey Westfall

There is a rule in medicine that you don’t give drugs that slow cell growth before drugs that kill cells. Triclosan violates that rule. ~ Petra Levin

The FDA, which is responsible for safeguarding the safety of personal-care products, medical devices, and products that come into contact with food, did nothing to regulate triclosan except shuffle papers, and write a tart letter to an inquiring Congressman who read studies on triclosan that “raise valid concerns about the effect of repetitive daily human exposure to these antiseptic ingredients.”

Triclosan is in so many products that it has been under studious neglect by 3 US federal regulatory agencies: the FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Triclosan is a polychloro phenoxy phenol: a highly reactive compound containing trace amounts of dioxins. Triclosan degrades to produce more dioxins. Dioxins are by-products of various industrial processes. As such, dioxins can be found throughout the world: in the soil, sediment, and the fatty tissues of animals, including those eaten by humans, as well as trace amounts in the air and water. Dioxins have no known use except act as a biological detriment.

Dioxins are commonly regarded as highly toxic compounds, but scientific proof of that is surprisingly scarce, for humans at least. Animal studies demonstrate a more dismal prospect: damage to the liver, thymus, and other organs. There is no reason to think that human infusion would be innocuous.

Dioxins are a family of chemical compounds. The American Chemical Council, a chemical industry political lobbyist, kindly reminds that only 17 of the 75 dioxins are “considered to pose a potential public health concern.”

For lack of research, the toxicity of triclosan’s dioxins are uncertain. But triclosan produces abundant dioxins.

The American Chemistry Council wants you to know that the breakdown of triclosan into dioxins “are generally not considered to be toxic to humans or wildlife.” So much for cause of death.

As always true of chemical contamination, children are more susceptible than adults. Triclosan incites and aggravates allergies and hay fever, especially in youngsters. Exposure in infancy degrades survival prospects.

As triclosan indiscriminately affects bacteria, its detrimental effects on the microbiome are widespread. This has numerous cascade effects on health.

Triclosan mucks up sewage treatment. Its presence in wastewater sabotages sludge-processing microbes while promoting resistance evolution in undesirables.

Some 100 tonnes of triclosan enter US sewage plants each year. Treated wastewater and sewage-based fertilizers are used on croplands, where triclosan promotes antibiotic resistance among microbial soil residents and accumulates in crops.

Scientists have expressed concerns for decades about triclosan, which not only has its dioxin impact, but also has been shown to disrupt hormonal balances (the endocrine system), muscle performance, reduce blood flow, and negatively impact the immune systems of animals. But industry apologists are having none of that naysaying.

It’s a time of increased threats from disease and germs. These products and ingredients have been reviewed, regulated and researched for decades. The science strongly supports the safety and efficacy of these products. ~ Shruti Sansoni of the US Soap and Detergent Association

In 2016 the FDA stunningly reversed itself, banning antibacterial soaps, including triclosan. The reversal was narrow. Triclosan is still allowed in other consumer products.

Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water. In fact, antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term. ~ FDA