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Triclosan: Antibacterial Dangers

Updated: Jan 12

Triclosan: Anti-bacterial Dangers

Triclosan is a widely used chemical that is in various products, such as antiperspirants, deodorants, cleansers, hand sanitizers, lotions, face makeup, natural health products, fragrances, toothpaste and mouthwash, soaps, skin cleansers, shampoos, laundry detergent, facial tissues, antiseptics for wounds, garbage bags, toys, linens, mattresses, toilet fixtures, clothing, furniture fabric, kitchenware, and paints.

Triclosan serves several purposes, including acting as a preservative, preventing odours, killing or removing bacteria, and stopping the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Additionally, Triclosan has medical applications.

According to Canada's environmental chemical risk assessment, Triclosan does not pose a health risk at current levels of exposure, and there is no evidence that products containing Triclosan cause antimicrobial resistance. However, the amount of Triclosan released into the environment can harm living organisms in the water, as it does not readily degrade and can accumulate in the water, land and air after being rinsed down the drain. Triclosan can also react to form dioxins, which are toxic and bioaccumulate.

In Canada, the maximum amount of Triclosan allowed in mouthwashes is 0.03%, 1.0% in non-prescription drugs, and 0.3% in cosmetics and natural health products. The buildup of Triclosan in so many products worry us. The small amounts found in each product can add up and cause harm to the environment. Moreover, Triclosan can pass through the skin, and some short-term animal studies have shown that high doses of Triclosan can be associated with a decrease in the levels of some thyroid hormones. The significance of these findings to human health is unknown.

It is worth noting that anti-bacterial hand sanitizers containing Triclosan are classified as drugs based on the therapeutic claim and are not subject to the Cosmetic Regulations, as per the Food and Drug Act.

To protect the environment, practice proper hand washing techniques using regular soap and water, avoid using anti-bacterial or antimicrobial soap, read product labels to avoid buying products with Triclosan, and search for "recalls and safety alerts" and "report unsafe products" by contacting a "regional product safety office."

Triclosan may not pose a health risk at current levels of exposure since Triclosan does not readily degrade and can accumulate in the environment, leading to potential harm to living organisms. It is essential to minimize the use of products containing Triclosan and to dispose of any products that contain it properly. We cannot ignore the impact it has on the environment cannot be ignored.

Practicing proper hand washing techniques using regular soap and water is recommended over using anti-bacterial or antimicrobial soap. Reading product labels and avoiding buying products with Triclosan is also a good practice. Additionally, consumers can stay informed about recalls and safety alerts by contacting their regional product safety office and reporting any unsafe products.

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