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Triclosan is found in many household items and may be dangerous

After taking its sweet time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will make a decision on whether a chemical found in household antibacterial soaps is safe or not. 

The chemical triclosan, which is found in about 75 percent of liquid antibacterial soaps in the United States, has been in question for quite some time now. Animal studies have shown that it could lead to infertility and early puberty -- and lawmakers and advocates want the FDA to make a decision now.

The case involving triclosan dates back as far as 1972. At that time, Congress passed a law that made the FDA set guidelines for antibacterial chemicals. The FDA published its first tentative set of guidelines in 1978 for the liquid soaps, which said that triclosan was not seen as "safe and effective" due to lack of research proving otherwise.

The FDA made many drafts since then, but none were ever finalized. Hence, triclosan was never removed from household products like antibacterial soap, toothpaste, deodorants, bedding, and even toys. 

Last summer, the FDA said the review would be complete by the end of 2012, but that was later pushed to February 2013. We are now in May 2013, and the FDA is being pushed to finalize the review. 


Triclosan is found in antibacterial soap [Image Source: Chicago Tribune]

The FDA was even threatened with a lawsuit by the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council in March of this year. 

Right now, the FDA's website states that "the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water."

In August 2012, researchers at the University of California - Davis and the University of Colorado discovered that triclosan actually affects muscular strength in mice, swimming in fish and muscular contractions in skeletal and cardiac cells. 

The researchers reached these conclusions by first exposing living mice to doses of triclosan similar to that humans and animals would be in contact with on a daily basis. After 20 minutes of exposure, the mice had a 25 percent drop in heart function. They also had an 18 percent decrease in grip strength after an hour of exposure.

While the removal of triclosan could prove to be a nuisance for many industries, companies like Johnson & Johnson have already vowed to remove triclosan from all adult products by 2015. 

There's no exact date planned for the final review by the FDA, but it's expected to come this year -- hopefully. 

Source: CBS News



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RE: Its about time
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/6/2013 2:38:15 PM , Rating: 5
I also wonder if this overuse of antibacterial stuff is the reason why kids today are allergic to every damn thing under the sun. Growing up in the 80s, I don't remember kids being allergic to so many damn things.


RE: Its about time
By bug77 on 5/6/2013 2:59:57 PM , Rating: 5
If the immune system doesn't see enough bacteria, it won't develop an immunity. That's all.


RE: Its about time
By Samus on 5/7/2013 12:36:51 AM , Rating: 3
Antibacterial soaps belong in one place and only one place: hospitals.

They simply shouldn't be sold at retail. I'm not saying you shouldn't be able to get them if you don't want them, but people don't get that for the last million years we have been surviving quite well with plenty of bacteria.

On the other hand, working in IT, I'm a pretty big user of hand sanitizer; the alcohol variety.


RE: Its about time
By tastyratz on 5/8/2013 9:44:35 AM , Rating: 3
Working in IT I can be a pretty big user of the BRAIN sanitizer; the alcohol variety.
Some of the things people do...


RE: Its about time
By ianweck on 5/7/2013 11:02:48 AM , Rating: 2
I thought that only pertained to viruses.


RE: Its about time
By Dug on 5/6/2013 3:15:37 PM , Rating: 1
That's from eating everything that is processed and not getting anything substantial in their system.
Also chemicals used in growing food (which I consider processed).

You are correct, there weren't so many kids allergic, obese, diabetic, and needing to be gluten free.

From 89 when I graduated we had 1 diabetic. The school has 40 now. No peanuts allowed, and a gluten free menu available.


RE: Its about time
By Motoman on 5/6/2013 5:17:28 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe...but I think the real answer is simply parents' behavior. Parents these days go to ridiculous lengths to "protect" their kids from anything...dirt, nuts, gluten, the outside world in general, so on and so forth.

It's a requirement of our biology that babies be exposed to...well, everything. Bacteria, microbes, all manners of potential allergans, etc.

Exposure to such things is what informs the body to learn to deal with it. If you prevent your young child from coming into contact with the real world, your child will become allergic to the real world.

The irony of course is that in being hyper-protective of their children, parents are actually *causing* their children to grow into lives filled with needless suffering and apprehension that they're going to come into contact with an everyday substance that could kill them.


RE: Its about time
By ianweck on 5/7/2013 11:06:23 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe. But I was never allergic to anything when I was younger. I was born in the 70s and my mother was definitely not a germophobe when it came to me. Still in 2006 I just developed seasonal allergies. Where does that come from? Now ever spring and summer I get to deal with allergies. I wonder if food allergies and seasonal allergies are governed by the same mechanism in our bodies?


RE: Its about time
By Iketh on 5/7/2013 12:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
Because your immune system forgets. About every 5 years, it will forget how to fend off an infection if it never comes in contact with it during that time.


RE: Its about time
By ianweck on 5/7/2013 4:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
So I need to get all of my shots again?


RE: Its about time
By thesavvymage on 5/7/2013 2:54:53 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously. My dad grew up in the middle east. Kids there hardly ever got sick, and he didnt even know what allergies were until he came here to the US in the late 80s. At first, he thought saying you were allergic to something meant that you didnt like it. You're quite right in thinking there could be a connection


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