by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
If your New Year’s Resolution was to quit smoking, lose weight, and start eating healthier; congratulations, you’re well on your way to living a longer, healthier life. Unfortunately, even if you’re eating the best diet and working out regularly, you could still be setting yourself up for serious disease from a dangerous toxin you willingly use each and every day.
That toxin is called Triclosan and if you carry around a small bottle of antibacterial gel in your purse or glove compartment, you may be slathering it on each and every day. You’ll want to check that anti-bacterial gel, and many other products in your home, to make sure they do not contain this toxic substance.
Alcohol based hand sanitizers, such as those containing ethanol, are much better. There is no doubt that alcohol based hand sanitizers save lives and reduce the transmission of infectious diseases without the dangers associated with Triclosan.
What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is a synthetically-derived antibacterial, antifungal agent. It was first patented in 1966 by the Colgate-Palmolive Corporation. A year later the first Triclosan-based antibacterial bar soap hit the market. During the 1970s, Triclosan-based products were used primarily by surgeons as a pre-operative scrubbing agent. It wasn’t until the mid 1980s that antibacterial soap and other products containing Triclosan hit the mainstream.
How Triclosan Became So Popular
In the early to mid-2000s, stories of infectious disease outbreaks such as Severe Acute Respiratory System (SARS) and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) began frightening people into using as many antimicrobial agents as possible to protect themselves from potential threat.
The recent threat of a Bird Flu epidemic had millions of worried people slathering on gobs of Triclosan-containing antibacterial hand gel each time they left their homes or were exposed to the slightest hint of a sneeze from others.
Triclosan isn’t just for hand gels and soap anymore. Today this synthetic antibacterial agent can be found in everything from cosmetics to socks. In 2005, the FDA concluded that the use of Triclosan containing products did not pose a human health hazard. However, other countries, namely Canada, most of Europe, and Japan, have banned the substance, deeming it too toxic for mass consumption.
How Triclosan Works
Triclosan is called a “selectively-toxic chemical.” It works on bacteria by blocking the active site of the enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (ENR), which is an essential enzyme in fatty acids synthesis. If the bacterium cannot synthesize the fatty acid in a cell, it cannot reproduce and create infection.
This may sound really great on the surface, however, Triclosan and other synthetic antimicrobial agents were only meant to be used in emergency situations , or on a temporary basis. In hospital settings, this synthetic antibacterial agent has been proven to be effective when used in this way.
However, continued use has the exact opposite effect. Overexposure to this chemical wreaks havoc with your body and causes a slow breakdown of your immune system, dependence on the agent, and antibiotic resistance.
How Triclosan is Slowly Destroying Your Health
A study by the FDA showed that households using Triclosan-based products did not see a decrease in bacterial or viral infections. The FDA also concluded that excessive use of Triclosan could create bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Common health dangers associated with Triclosan include:
- Thyroid Disease
Triclosan has chlorinated structures that bind to the thyroid gland, which displaces essential iodine, and causes chronic inflammation. A depleted antioxidant system in the thyroid gland is a leading cause for thyroid diseases such as hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease, and thyroid cancer. Triclosan can also cause liver dysfunction.
- Antibiotic Resistance
One of the largest concerns of excessive use of this synthetic antibacterial agent is antibiotic resistance. This occurs when the immune system has built up a tolerance and resistance to an antimicrobial agent. It is then more difficult for conventional antibiotics to treat any serious bacterial outbreak the person may have.
- Liver Toxicity
When combined with water, Triclosan produces a type of chloroform gas that is toxic to the liver. Symptoms of liver toxicity include chronic fatigue syndrome, emotional disturbances, digestive problems such as bloating and swelling after a meal, and the inability to lose weight.
- Muscle Weakness
According to a study published by the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Triclosan causes muscle weakness and reduced movement in fish. A mouse injected with 1 percent Triclosan experienced heart failure in less than one minute due to an interference with the brain-heart muscle connection.
- Autoimmune Disease
Your immune system is designed to protect your body from foreign invaders. When you continue to use Triclosan-based products, your immune system works overtime to protect you. If your immune system remains in the constant “fight or flight” mode, it begins to malfunction, causing autoimmune diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, and psoriasis. The more toxins you put into your body, the more your immune system won’t recognize your healthy tissue and will attack it as a foreign entity.
Products Containing Triclosan
According to BeyondPesticides.org, Triclosan is found in the following products:
- Dial® Liquid Soap
- Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
- Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap
- Provon® Soap
- Clearasil® Daily Face Wash
- Dermatologica® Skin Purifying Wipes
- Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser
- DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap
- Naturade Aloe Vera 80® Antibacterial Soap
- CVS Antibacterial Soap
- pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser
- Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Triclosan Mouthwash
- Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush
- Janina Diamond Whitening Toothpaste
- Supre® Café Bronzer™
- TotalSkinCare Makeup Kit
- Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation
- Mavala Lip Base
- Jason Natural Cosmetics
- Blemish Cover Stick
- Movate® Skin Litening Cream HQ
- Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb
- Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss
- Old Spice High Endurance Stick Deodorant
- Right Guard Sport Deodorant
- Queen Helene® Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant
- Nature De France Le Stick Natural Stick Deodorant
- DeCleor Deodorant Stick
- Epoch® Deodorant with Citrisomes
- X Air Maximum Strength Deodorant
Other Personal Care Products:
- Gillette® Complete Skin Care MultiGel Aerosol Shave Gel
- Murad Acne Complex® Kit®
- Diabet-x™ Cream
- T.Taio™ sponges and wipes
- SyDERMA® Skin Protectant plus First Aid Antiseptic
- First Aid Medicated Spray
- Nexcare™ First Aid
- Skin Crack Care
- First Aid/Burn Cream
- HealWell® Night Splint
- 11-1X1: Universal Cervical Collar with Microban
- Farberware® Microban Steakknife Set and Cutting Boards
- Franklin Machine Products FMP Ice Cream Scoop SZ 20 Microban
- Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer
- Chix® Food Service Wipes with Microban
- Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads
- Fellowes Cordless Microban Keyboard and Microban Mouse Pad
- Merrell Shoes
- Sabatier Chef’s Apron
- Dickies Socks
- Fruit of the Loom Socks
- Biofresh® Socks
- Playskool® :
o Stack ‘n Scoop Whale
o Rockin’ Radio
o Sounds Around Driver
o Roll ‘n’ Rattle Ball
o Animal Sounds Phone
o Busy Beads Pal
o Pop ‘n’ Spin Top
o Lights ‘n’ Surprise Laptop
- Bionare® Cool Mist Humidifier
- Microban® All Weather Reinforced Hose
- Thomasville® Furniture
- Deciguard AB Ear Plugs
- Bauer® 5000 Helmet
- Aquatic Whirlpools
- Miller Paint Interior Paint
- QVC® Collapsible 40-Can Cooler
- Holmes Foot Buddy™ Foot Warmer
- Blue Mountain Wall Coverings
- California Paints®
- EHC AMRail Escalator Handrails
- DuPont™ Air Filters
- Durelle™ Carpet Cushions
- Advanta One Laminate Floors
- San Luis Blankets
- J Cloth® towels
- JERMEX mops
Other Names for Triclosan
Products containing Triclosan are usually clearly labeled as containing the synthetic antimicrobial. However, it is called Microban® when used in plastics and clothing and BioFresh® when used in acrylic fibers.
How to Avoid Triclosan
First and foremost, stop using antibacterial hand gel, dish soap, and hand soap if the label states it contains Triclosan. Secondly, start reading the labels on everything you use. If it contains Triclosan, get rid of it.
After you’ve eliminated all traces of Triclosan, it’s time to find safe, natural replacements. I recommend castile soap. Castile soap is an olive-oil based soap that can be used as a shampoo, body wash, shaving soap, laundry detergent, and household cleaning product. It’s quite inexpensive and saves lots of money when you realize just how many uses it has.
To avoid Triclosan in cosmetic products, opt for mineral makeup and natural exfoliants and creams. Baking soda, for example, makes an excellent and cheap skin scrub while virgin coconut oil easily replaces any lotion or cream you’re using now.
Healing from Triclosan Toxicity
The best way to improve your immune system and heal from any damage this antimicrobial agent has caused is to eat a whole-food diet and choose whole food supplements.
I have recently created a line of healing nutritional supplements designed to meet your health needs. At Diamond Nutritionals you can choose the nutritional supplement that best suits your needs and those of your family. We offer a complete line of professional grade nutritional and immune-boosting supplements.
In my opinion, you should avoid Triclosan at all costs. Give your system a much-needed break from the influx of toxins into your system. Switch to organic food, natural household cleaners and cosmetics, and Diamond Nutritionals’ Immune-Boosting Supplements. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!