What’s behind Antibacterial Soaps?

Antibacterial Soaps

Most of us while growing up got our hands dirty when we played outside and washed up when we got home. Getting clean involved just hot water, basic soap, and a good scrub. There were no antibacterial foams, hand soaps, or potions to ‘save’ us from germs.

By the late 1980s, the personal-care industry motivated to stop the spread of flu and colds decided to attack bacteria with the help of antibacterial soaps. They though it is a wise decision regardless the fact that both flu and colds are caused by viruses and antibacterials have absolutely no effect on.

The worse thing is that for the last 30 years all of the antibacterials that have been used by millions of people have contained chemicals like triclosan. Triclosan is a toxic ingredient that is not only linked with muscle weakness, hormone disruption, liver cancer, and allergies but contributes in the rising tide of antibiotic resistance. Triclosan also pollutes groundwater and soil and damages marine life, so there is not a really good reason to use the stuff.

This chemical was registered as a pesticide back in 1969. Fortunately, the use of triclosan was banned by FDA just a couple months ago, (and triclocarban, its cousin) in body washes and hand soaps.  But, we will have to wait for the full effect of the phase-out for another year, and even then triclosan will still be present in many other products we probably use every day.

Here are a few tips on how you can avoid triclosan:

Check your toothpaste. We are all probably brushing our teeth with triclosan. Maybe it is hard to believe, but triclosan appears in lots of products that many of us use several times a day, including mouth rinses and toothpaste — and we all think we’re doing something good for our oral health! Keep brushing and rinsing but avoid products that contain triclosan and switch to healthier, triclosan-free versions.

This goes far beyond hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps and you’re probably covering your body and face with it too. You’ll find it in many brands of antiperspirants, deodorant, shampoo, shaving gel, skin and facial moisturizers, as well as eye makeup, foundation, lipstick, and facial cleansers to name a few.

Start reading — and steer clear. If a personal care product contains triclocarban or triclosan, it will be listed on the label. Maybe it will be in the fine print, but do the detective work with magnifying glass because it’s definitely worth busting it out. You do not want this poison seeping near you.

Over time replace all the triclosan-containing products, if you currently have a bathroom cabinet loaded with them, with healthier alternatives.

Buy wisely and get smart.

Clean up your act. Keep your hands clean to help keep germs at bay — especially as we head into winter. But, try to choose simple liquid hand soaps or bar soaps that don’t contain triclosan and stay far away from antibacterial wipes, soaps, and gels. Simply use hot water and soap for 20 to 30 seconds, and be sure to soap up the back and front of your hands and under the nails.

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