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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 Reclaimer77 on 5/6/2013 7:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
Its common knowledge that triclosan is among the pollutants that cannot be removed from water during the water treatment process.

It doesn't have to be because it dilutes down into the water into absolutely minute amounts that are completely harmless.

Pretty sure if there WAS an actual health issue with this chemical, they wouldn't take 30+ years to take action.

its a completely unnecessary additive to soap so being an unnecessary pollutant benign or not.

Why would companies spend the money on putting it in the product if it was truly "unnecessary"?

RE: Its about time
By BifurcatedBoat on 5/6/2013 7:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
Whether or not this chemical is causing you any harm, starting with the assumption that there's someone out there looking out for your best interests and wouldn't allow something bad to happen to you is big mistake.

RE: Its about time
By Reclaimer77 on 5/6/2013 7:48:09 PM , Rating: 1
lol oh trust me, I'm no fan of the EPA/FDA/Government in general.

Whether or not this chemical is causing you any harm

It's not.

RE: Its about time
By Samus on 5/7/2013 12:38:38 AM , Rating: 2
not (yet)

genetic mutations, birth defects and adverse health effects to the population affect all of us.

RE: Its about time
By TSS on 5/6/2013 10:34:32 PM , Rating: 2
Why would companies spend the money on putting it in the product if it was truly "unnecessary"?

Why does everything in the US contain corn syrup sweetner instead of sugar?

Cause it's cheaper. You wanna sell anti-bacterial soap because nobody wants "icky germs" so there's a market, but you want to do it at the lowest cost possible. If the FDA doesn't say it's not safe, you can't be sued for it.

That's why. Free market also means free of ethics.

RE: Its about time
By ianweck on 5/7/2013 11:08:32 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure it's also marketing. Look, our soap has anti-bacterial properties and the competition's doesn't!

RE: Its about time
By maugrimtr on 5/8/2013 10:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
Triclosan is actually a known antibacterial agent. It just may have some side effects if you are exposed to it over time thus making it's use in soaps questionable. The research is sufficiently murky that the FDA can't exclude the possibility that it likely does have negative effects in mammals.

The thing is that there are "antibacterials" which are just as effective without the side effects that Triclosan likely has. Scrubbing your hands with normal soap tends to scrub away germs. I know, this must be hugely controversial - allowing the germs to survive the experience and retreat to the drainage system is immoral for some.

The companies are simply taking the cheapest route possible to get the phrase "antibacterial" onto their soap products. It's a silly and possibly harmful ploy - nothing else. It doesn't actually make the soap better.

It also ignores that some bacteria hiding out on your body are actually helpful. Controlling the population so you have the benefits and none of the downsides is great. Annihilating every germ and virus is not.

RE: Its about time
By Ammohunt on 5/7/2013 11:58:25 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure if there WAS an actual health issue with this chemical, they wouldn't take 30+ years to take action.

Not sure when you grew up bu i grew up when they were still adding lead to everyday gasoline to boost octane. Took them from the invention of the automobile to the late 80ies before they decided that may not be such a good idea.

Why would companies spend the money on putting it in the product if it was truly "unnecessary"?

Simple math (cost of soap+triclosan = anti-bacterial marketing hype = better than any other soap on the market = price premium.C'mon man Snake Oil salesmen have been around since the dawn of time; hell my wife's nutty cousin sells essential oil extracts that i guess with application and a little prayer can cure anything! Wonder if they are anti-bacterial?

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