New research suggests that antimicrobial chemicals, triclosan and triclocarban, have a number of adverse health and environmental impacts, the main concerns being that they can increase our sensitivity to allergens, affect reproduction and development, and that overuse might contribute to microbial resistance.
In America, the FDA has banned these formerly commonly used chemicals from hand and body soaps as research showed they were neither safe nor effective. Consumers have been lead to believe these washes are superior at preventing the spread of germs but the scientific evidence proved otherwise: these types of soaps are actually doing more harm than good. So why are manufacturers still using them here?
These chemicals last a long time in the environment and can lead to detrimental effects on aquatic organisms as they accumulate over time, traces have also shown to be present in human blood and breast milk. Both these harmful chemicals are found in an array of personal care products, including soaps, detergents, shampoos, and even toothpaste which is particularly concerning, take a read of this article from the Taranaki Daily News.
Here in NZ the Environmental Protection Agency is currently considering whether triclosan and triclocarban should be added to the re-assessment list, where the severity and extent of its risk factors will be prioritised in the context of the current list of around 30 pesticides and insecticides, this does not appear to be a fast process. Another way to get these products removed from shelves is not to purchase them, instead go natural; read labels, do your research and choose products that you know are safe.
To find out more about which chemicals, food additives and colourings to avoid grab a copy of Wendyl Nissen’s book ‘Supermarket Companion’