There is much controversy regarding a chemical called Triclosan. What is it? How is it used? Is it harmful or helpful? These are the questions many people are asking. You decide what is best for you.

Triclosan is a white powdered solid, chemically manufactured, compound with a hint of aroma. This compound is known to have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. It was created over forty years ago as a surgical scrub for hospitals. Since 1972 it's used, widely, in a variety of household products including: soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, mouthwashes, dish detergents, hand sanitizers, shaving creams, cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, pesticides, insulation, flooring, toys, bedding, socks, trash bags, cutting boards, counter tops and many other consumer products. It's sold under different trade names, such as: Microban, Ultra Fresh, Amicor and BioFresh. Why is it used at all? Many manufacturers claim it has anti-bacterial qualities but the F.D.A. states that using it in soap is no more effective than using ordinary soap and water. Studies have shown that using low levels of it appear to have bacteriostatic properties. It binds to bacteria. Using Triclosan to inhibit the growth of bacteria, though, may not be so simple. There are many health concerns to consider when using this compound.

According to an August 6, 1998 article, coauthored by Dr. Stuart Levy, overusing Triclosan can cause resistant strains of bacteria to develop. Since then laboratory methods were not effective in proving bacterial resistance. However, there's still not enough information to make a complete analysis. Studies have been limited.

When Triclosan comes in contact with surface waters it can form toxic, dioxin-like, compounds, similar to those found in environmental pollutants. Reports have shown when combined with chlorine in tap water it can form chloroform, (a probable human carcinogen), as stated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It reacts with chlorine in tap water and degrades into dioxins when exposed to UV sunlight and other conditions. Some dioxins are extremely toxic and can be potent disruptors of the endocrine system. They can remain in the body to accumulate to dangerous levels and are very slowly expelled. They can persist in the environment a very long time. It's found throughout the environment in: surface waters, soil and fish tissue. It's, even, found in human breast milk.

Another study has shown that Triclosan can affect the immune system. It showed positive association between having allergies or hay fevers. It has been proven that low amounts of it can be absorbed through the skin and enter into the bloodstream.

Many consumer groups have campaigned against the use of Triclosan and some manufacturers have listened. For instance, Colgate-Palmolive replaced it with lactic acid in Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid. Their Softsoap liquid hand soap has been reformulated without this compound too.

Scientists have raised concerns about the use of Triclosan for decades. Currently, stated by the F.D.A., it is now USA law that if it's used in consumer products it must be indicated on the label. In 2009 the Canadian Medical Association asked their government to ban it in household products. The negative effects of it in the environment have led the Swedish to not recommend using it in toothpaste. The American Medical Association, (A.M.A), has encouraged the United States Food and Drug Administration, (F.D.A.), to continue research regarding the use of common antimicrobials as ingredients in consumer products including their impact on health and the environment.

So you decide. Is it harmful or helpful? Take a look around and start to get wise about the ingredients in your everyday products. There are alternative ways to avoid using controversial ingredients. For example, natural goat milk soap contains many healthful ingredients for the skin. Goat milk, itself, contains the benefits of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. It's a buffer that leaves skin close to its natural pH level. You don't have to worry about harsh chemical solvents, surfactants or foaming agents causing allergies or skin sensitivities. Natural goat milk soap can be made with a combination of healthful skin care soap making oils. These homemade soaps can help get rid of blackheads, provide acne relief, moisturize dry itchy skin, relieve dry flaky skin, (including eczema and/or psoriasis), and much more! There is no need for Triclosan in homemade goats milk soap. You can have natural, homemade, antibacterial soap! Virgin coconut oil is non-hydrogenated, a natural anti-microbial fighting viruses and bacteria. Tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil are other soap making oils for fighting bacteria. Good soap makers know how to combine the right ingredients in soap recipes. Some are willing to teach you how to make soap with easy soap making instructions in soap making classes. Get wise about the products you are using and how they can affect your overall health. One day, you'll be glad you did!

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