Using some antibacterial soaps may promote tumor growth, according to a study just published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings add to a body of concerns about triclosan, one of the most common antimicrobial chemicals in consumer products from detergents to cosmetics, including links to allergy development in children, and potentially to breast cancer via disruption of hormone signals that may also cause thyroid dysfunction and weight gain.
Triclosan is regulated in many countries, but the U.S. isn’t among them. In 1974 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a ruling on the safety of triclosan; but, four years later, the agency said that was not possible due to insufficient evidence. In 2010, still with no FDA ruling, the National Resources Defense Council sued the FDA over the matter. Still today there’s no ruling, but the FDA has said that it will commit to something by 2016. The chemical is in an estimated 75 percent of antimicrobial soaps and body washes, though some companies have begun voluntarily phasing it out due to health concerns. Products like Johnson’s baby shampoo and Palmolive no longer contain triclosan.
Still a study in August from the University of California, San Francisco, found that about three-fourths of doctors and nurses had triclosan in their urine, and another study earlier this year found triclosan in the urine of 100 percent of pregnant women tested in Brooklyn. Because triclosan-infused products have been so widely used for many years, exposure to the chemical entirely is unavoidable. It is among the most common chemicals to be detected in streams.
“The result that it led to liver fibrosis was startling to us,” lead researcher Robert Tukey said. The researchers also noted a similar effect in kidneys. Their findings suggest that triclosan does not cause liver tumors by itself, in that it does not mutate DNA. But it does promote tumor formation once a mutation has occurred. Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, specifically) is the world’s number-three cause of cancer death.
“If non-triclosan-containing soaps are available, use the alternative,” said Paul Blanc, a professor of medicine at UCSF, earlier this year in a press statement. “This is based on the precautionary principle–that is, if you don’t know for certain that something is unsafe, it’s better to err on the side of caution.”
No one is saying triclosan causes cancer. It just promotes an environment that aids the growth of tumors. Whoop-de-doo! Not a big difference for ordinary folks who acquire liver cancer.
Americans have a lifetime exposure to propaganda – called commercials – that say there always is a magic ingredient that cures everything wrong in your life. It may be soap, it may be beer. It may be where you bank, it may be which old white guy will guarantee to keep your political life all snug and unchanging. And it’s mostly bullshit!
There are plenty of reasonable if dull sources for information about health. If you can, try to stay away from the quacks. Try to avoid the folks selling you snake oil. I sometimes feel that any solution that sounds extra easy has to be wrong – or at least less reliable. Anti-bacterial soap is one of those.
Designed to kill off critters instead of the awesome labor of scrubbing them away with soap and hot water – doctors and nurses are as guilty of being misled as the rest of us. The medical-industrial complex – predictably – uses their success at selling crap products to the medical community to sell them to us. We get to see pictures of folks in white starched coats smiling while they endorse mutation-enhancing products.
Keep on rocking in the Free World.
2 thoughts on “Got Triclosan? Have any idea what else you may get?”
“…findings from the FDA last December that “there is currently no evidence that [antibacterial soaps] are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water,” and the case against them is pretty clear.””
Triclosan, a chemical commonly added to a myriad of consumer products to kill bacteria, may be bad for women’s bones, a new study suggests. https://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/bacteria-960/could-antibacterial-triclosan-weaken-women-s-bones-747730.html “We found that higher triclosan levels in urine were associated with lower bone mineral density in the femur and lumbar spine and increased the risk for osteoporosis in U.S. women, especially postmenopausal women,” said lead researcher Yingjun Li, from Hangzhou Medical College School of Public Health in China. Triclosan has been shown to affect bone mineral density in cells and in animals, Li added, but this is the first evidence in humans that it can have the same effect.
Triclosan is widely used in a variety of products including soaps, toothpaste and mouthwash. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the chemical from hand sanitizers, it’s still used in other products. Because the researchers looked at women who were exposed to triclosan, as well as many other chemicals, during their lives, this study cannot prove that triclosan caused osteoporosis.
According to the FDA, triclosan has been linked to reduced levels of some thyroid hormones and to an added risk of making some bacteria resistant to antibiotics. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/5-things-know-about-triclosan
Consumers can limit their exposure to triclosan by not using toothpaste containing triclosan and by avoiding antimicrobial consumer products laced with triclosan, including clothes, kitchenware, office and school supplies, carpets and workstation surfaces.
“Association between urinary triclosan with bone mass density and osteoporosis in the US adult women, 2005-2010” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (June 25, 2019) https://academic.oup.com/jcem/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1210/jc.2019-00576/5522022?redirectedFrom=fulltext