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Triclosan: Antibacterial Dangers

Triclosan is a widely used chemical that can be found 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, fungus, and mildew. Additionally, triclosan has medical applications. Triclosan does not pose a health risk at current levels of exposure, and there is no evidence that products containing triclosan cause antimicrobial resistance according to Canada's environmental chemical risk assessment. However, the amount of triclosan released into the environment can potentially harm living organisms in the water, as it does not easily degrade and can accumulate in the environment 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. However, since triclosan is used in so many products, 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 may not classify as cosmetics as per the Food and Drug Act. Products classified as drugs based on therapeutic claim are not subject to the Cosmetic Regulations.

To protect the environment, it is recommended to practice proper hand washing techniques using regular soap and water, avoid using antibacterial 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 currently pose a health risk at current levels of exposure. Since Triclosan does not easily degrade and can accumulate in the environment, leading to potential harm to living organisms. It is important to minimize the use of products containing triclosan and to properly dispose of any products that do contain it. It's impact on the environment cannot be ignored. Practicing proper hand washing techniques using regular soap and water is recommended over using antibacterial 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 they come across.

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