Triclosan is a powerful chemical used to fight the spread of germs. It is an antibacterial and antifungal agent used in various household products like hand soap, toothpaste, toys, and beauty products. It eliminates the spread of disease, but is it good for you?
The chemical was first brought to the market in 1969 for hospital use by drug company Novartis and was distributed to the consumer market shortly thereafter. The chemical compound is an organic polychloro phenoxy phenol that breaks down to a dioxin when used in products after targeting bacteria through fatty acid synthesis.
But as great of a wonder cleaner as triclosan may seem to be, it isn’t the safest for you. Studies have shown that triclosan has numerous and severe health outcomes, and environmental risks as well, especially after the compound diminishes into dioxin. It’s become such a concern that efforts to ban the chemical have begun in the U.S. and companies have also started to reformulate products that contain the hazardous chemical. Below are four hazards of triclosan, as well as where it can be found and what to watch out for.
1. Hormonal Problems
Studies have shown that triclosan alters testosterone and thyroid serum levels and also affects estrogen adapters and synthesis. Triclosan stores itself in certain cells and has been found to hide in breast milk and blood. The compound can have long-term hormonal effects that can be passed along and affect the immune system, fertility, and pregnancy.
Since hormonal effects impact the entire endocrine system, from vital organs to the release of necessary chemicals in the body, this dangerous substance is ultimately an endocrine disruptor.
Exposure to triclosan can lead to the development of allergies, especially in children still developing their immune system, and can also change the bacterial skin flora of growing children. Hay fever, asthma and seasonal allergy symptoms are also common symptoms in children who use products containing triclosan.
In 2013, a Norwegian study looked at the effects of triclosan on 10-year-old children. The study found that triclosan concentrations in urine samples were associated with allergic sensitization, especially inhalant and seasonal allergens, rather than those dealing with food. Urine showed elevated levels of immunoglobulin E and rhinitis (blocked nose or hay fever) in the 623 children studied.