Back in July 2012 I wrote a blog “Rub-a-Dub-Dub There’s a Rubber Duck in my Tub.” It was a book review of Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health. The book describes in detail an experiment in which the author turned himself into a human guinea pig. The results were remarkable. In fact so compelling that like the "Triclosan Challenge" in the book, at home we changed the type of canned tuna we eat, we no longer use non-stick cooking pans, we do not use any products that contain Triclosan and I can say I have probably only had 2 bags of microwave popcorn since reading this book several years ago.
The reason that I bring this up is that the data on Triclosan and its potential concern for human health is not new. Discussions on this have been going on for some time. As I outlined back in April of 2013 in the Triclosan Chemistry Report Card, over the years the use of Triclosan has been increasing and can be found being infused in an increasing number of consumer products owing to its use as a preservative to ward off bacteria, fungus, mildew and odors in toys, mattresses, toilet fixtures, clothing (check the label for your PJs!), furniture fabric, and paints. A study conducted in 2006, found that exposing bullfrog tadpoles to levels of Triclosan commonly found in the environment can cause endocrine disruption. More recently, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota determined that Triclosan is being found in increasing amounts in several Minnesota freshwater lakes. The findings are directly linked to increased Triclosan use over the past few decades.
The reason that I’m including the dates of some of my previous blogs is that the concerns associated over the use of Triclosan have been well documented for well more than a decade. It’s unfortunate that with politics and with lobbying, some things are slow to change. Thankfully in Sept of 2016 the FDA issued a final rule banning over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic wash products from containing certain active ingredients. Triclosan was among those ingredients. Finally science prevailed. According to the FDA Press Release “Companies did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in this final rulemaking. For these ingredients, either no additional data were submitted or the data and information that were submitted were not sufficient for the agency to find that these ingredients are Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective (GRAS/GRAE).”
Even more exciting, Minnesota has become the first state to officially ban Triclosan. The reason in part for being trail blazers in this ban is due to the fact that the University of Minnesota has for years been so involved in research into the human and environmental health impacts of Triclosan.
Admittedly, this ban is currently only present in consumer products. The ban has not spread to professional products such as hand soaps or surgical scrubs, etc. The question I have is, if the FDA has deemed Triclosan to be unsafe for us to use at home because of health risks, would these same health risks not occur if we’re using Triclosan laced products at work? I for one, as I noted above since 2012, have “banned” the use of Triclosan in my house and check labels in facilities when I am using the soap provided. With every possible effort I can give I avoid the use of this harmful chemical. Isn’t this something you would also want to do to given the risks?