May 10 2015

Are some Antibacterial Products Themselves Dangerous?

Published by at 12:04 pm under antibacterials

Are Dangerous Chemicals in Antibacterial Products Rendering Them More Harmful Than Good?
Researchers report they need more understanding to determine the risk verses reward of these harmful chemicals.

Last week we talked about America’s obsession with cleanliness and why sometimes being too clean can work against us. As researchers continue to explore the world of microorganisms, they have discovered that humans are about 90-99% bacteria, both good and bad (or friendly verses unfriendly.) These friendly bacteria don’t just live in the gut.  We are a network of these bacteria, they make up our very existence.  So the goal is to work in harmony to keep a healthy balance between the good and bad, about 80% good and 20% bad. When we over-clean or strip the good bacteria from our skin or our gut, we put ourselves in jeopardy.*

Today, many products lining our grocery store shelves promise to kill 99% of the bacteria on our hands, bodies or kitchen counters. The problem is that many of these products contain dangerous chemicals, such as, Triclosan or Triclocarban. [1]  Triclosan and Triclocarban are antibacterial and antifungal agents found in consumer products, including personal care products, baby wipes, soaps, toothpaste, lotions, detergents, and surgical cleaning treatments. Their efficacy as antimicrobial agents and the potential risk of bacterial resistance remain controversial. Researchers continue to seek to understand their potential effects on organisms and environmental health. [1]  *

With so many fears of bacterial infections, we strive to keep our family clean and unfriendly bacteria at bay through the use of products which are inadvertently killing off the good bacteria along with the bad.  Friendly bacteria that were intended by nature to safeguard us against an overabundance of unfriendly and pathogenic bacteria; are being stripped away by these antibacterial products.  Similar to the way antibiotics strip our gut of the friendly bacteria, so are these harsh chemicals striping our bodies of the protective shield of friendly bacteria, leaving our health in jeopardy. *

Triclosan was originally developed for its antibacterial properties for use in a surgical scrub, a place where use was prudent and away for normal everyday exposure to the general population.  Now, Triclosan and Triclocarbon can be found in a variety of everyday household products, all regulated by the FDA.  [1, 2]    However, there is mounting data suggesting that long term exposure to Triclosan and Triclocarban could pose serious health risks to include bacterial resistance and hormonal effects. A study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November of 2014, suggests that long-term exposure to Triclosan may lead to liver cancer in mice.  [1, 2]   *

“…Triclosan may interfere with the constitutive androstane receptor, a protein that helps flush chemicals out of the body, the authors said. In response to this disruption, excess liver cells might proliferate, and with continued exposure, these excess cells might eventually become tumors…” [ 2]   *

“…Triclosan’s increasing detection in environmental samples and its increasingly broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people, as it does in mice, particularly when combined with other compounds with similar action,…” according to Robert H. Tukey, PhD, professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Pharmacology .[2, 3]   *

In this study, the mice were exposed to higher concentrations of Triclosan than a typical person might encounter. More research is needed but preliminary results showed that people exposed to Triclosan over extended periods of time, may be at risk of liver damange.   [2]   *

As the substance has become more common in products, it has also emerged in the environment. Triclosan is among the seven most frequently detected compounds in streams across the United States, and it has been detected in the urine and breast milk of large portions of the population.  [2]   *

According to www.fda.gov in a post that was updated in November, 2013, “…Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans…”  Here, we must note that several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient which merit further review. [4]   *

“…Animal studies have shown that Triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that Triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. [4]   *

“…In light of these studies, FDA is engaged in an ongoing scientific and regulatory review of this ingredient. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain Triclosan at this time…” [4]   *

Due to pressure by concerned consumers, several major manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to begin reformulation of their products to exclude Triclosan, without notice. Always check product labels to determine whether Triclosan is contained in your product, and avoid those products whenever possible.

In summary, the question you must ask yourself is this:   Is it worth the risk to my health and that of my family to continue using products that contain these two chemicals?  Maybe not, according to the University of Michigan:

“…A comprehensive analysis in 2007 from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health, indicated that plain soaps are just as effective as consumer-grade antibacterial soaps with Triclosan in preventing illness and removing bacteria from the hands…” [8]

Minnesota is the first state to pass a law banning the chemical Triclosan. The ban was signed I into law and will go into effect in January 2017.  [5, 6]   *

My personal natural and safe alternative to these chemicals is Hydrogen Peroxide.  I use it daily to clean counter tops, fruits and vegetables, and bathroom surfaces. Remember, killing all bacteria is not a good idea. Be prudent in your use of broad spectrum antibiotics and antibacterial products containing these dangerous chemicals.  Wash your hands with natural soap and water, consume organic foods and clean water, get plenty of rest, reduce stress and supplement with Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ daily to ensure your body is doing all it can to maintain a healthy gut and strong immune system.  Keep those friendly bacteria thriving!

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli de Sante`

 

www.bodybiotics.com

 

 

Resources:

  1. http://www.naturalnews.com/triclosan.html
  2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/triclosan
  3. http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/pages/2014-11-17-dirty-side-of-soap.aspx
  4. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm205999.htm
  5. http://www.livescience.com/45738-minnesota-bans-triclosan-antibacterial-chemical.html
  6. http://www.beyondpesticides.org/antibacterial/products.php
  7. http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=chem&id=95&query=triclosan&prodcat=all
  8. Aiello, A. E.; Larson, E. L.; Levy, S. B. (2007). “Consumer Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky?”. Clinical Infectious Diseases 45: S137–47. doi:10.1086/519255. PMID 17683018. Lay summary – Phys.org (Aug 15, 2007).

 

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