Last week in the New Zealand there was a viral story about Colgate Total Toothpaste contains an ingredient called Triclosan (sometimes abbreviated at TCS) with some questionable side effects. Using ingredients which are questionable for your health is a scary reality a lot of us face when we choose products without actually looking closely at the ingredients. It is really important when shopping for health, hygiene and beauty products that you read the ingredients, much like when you are shopping for food.
Triclosan is an antibacterial product which is found in antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products. Because Triclosan has come under scrutiny in the past years some companies have removed it from their products, but there are still many products out there containing Triclosan or its chemical cousin Triclocarban.
Other studies found Triclosan may be a contributing factor to antibiotic resistance! This is so scary as we enter an age of antibiotic resistant bugs, viruses and infections being found more frequently around the world. Just weeks ago the World Health Organisation (WHO) released an article explaining that data collected from 77 countries showed the sexually transmitted infection Gonorrhoea is becoming much harder to treat because of its increased resistance to antibiotics. It seems very clear that using any product that may be linked to antibiotic resistance is extremely risky behaviour especially when there are other antibacterial products we could use instead of a product like Triclosan.
There are currently other studies being undertaken to look at the safety of Triclosan. One is investigating the possibility of increased risk of skin cancer on animals that have had long term exposure to Triclosan. Another study is looking at the possible breakdown of Triclosan into other chemicals on human skin when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Although the jury is not out on either of these studies it does not mean you should wait to find out, remember once upon a time people thought working with asbestos was safe.
It is also important to note it is not just our health which is at risk by using products with Triclosan but also our environment. The European Union (EU) classifies Triclosan as irritating to the skin and eyes, and as very toxic to aquatic organisms, stating that it may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. This is because when washed down our basin it doesn’t degrade and can build up in the environment forming dioxins which are toxic.
According to the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (NZ EPA) products in New Zealand are only allowed 0.3% Triclosan in cosmetics, including toothpaste and mouthwashes but the problem we face is that this can quickly add up as most of us come in contact with many products containing Triclosan.
OK, so what can we do? Well for starters check the ingredients in products such as toothpaste, antibacterial soaps, body washes and cosmetics. If you find Triclosan in any of these products find a suitable organic replacement! You do not need to rely on Triclosan to avoid tooth decay, gingivitis or infection. There are more than enough adequate natural products you can look at like Coconut Oil, Peppermint Oil and Manuka Honey. All of these can be great ingredients in toothpaste. Also, there was never anything wrong with conventional soap when it comes to washing your hands. The US FDA recommends consumers wash their hands with plain soap and water instead of antibacterial hand washes as there is no data showing antibacterial drugs like Triclosan provide any additional protection from infection and disease.
Triclosan is an antibacterial product found in antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products. Unfortunately, Triclosan has a dark side - It may be linked to hormone disruption, infertility, impaired brain development and compromised heart function. In addition to this, it may be a contributing factor in the rise of antibiotic resistant infections. Although further studies are still being done it does not mean you should be taking any risks when it comes to you or your family's health!
We recommend checking for Triclosan in toothpaste, antibacterial soaps, body washes and cosmetics. If you find a product contains Triclosan find a suitable organic replacement!