Your Antibacterial Soap Is Hazardous To Your Health

Your Antibacterial Soap Is Hazardous To Your Health post image

That antibacterial hand soap you think is important to keeping you healthy, may be doing just the opposite. Triclosan is the ingredient added to soaps and other products such as clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys. It also may be added to personal care items such as body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics.

Several recent studies have come out that indicate that it is not the benign substance first thought. In fact, it is a highly toxic pesticide that has become ubiquitous in our environment and our bodies through widespread use.

Triclosan is In Everything

Companies have jumped on the bandwagon of antibacterial products and have put it in everything — it’s in baby toys and kitchen utensils as well as personal care products. This increases human exposure to it exponentially. These companies benefit from the public misconception that we must kill all bacteria in order to be well.

However, an article in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases 2007, entitled Consumer Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky?, concludes that antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps.

This follows a recommendation by the FDA Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee in 2005 in a statement that antibacterial soaps and washes are no more effective than regular soap and water in fighting infections and may not be worth the risk of spawning resistant bacteria.

Industry Representatives Object

Representatives of soap and detergent companies say their products live up to their labels, which claim that they significantly reduce the presence of germs on the hands.

“We believe that the benefit of reducing harmful germs on the skin is apparent… We are concerned that consumers’ access to these products might be limited in some way,” said an industry rep.

Of course he is concerned. When people realize how toxic it is, they will stop using it.

Triclosan has been Found in Body Fluids

Triclosan has been found in human urine, as well as in blood and breast milk and umbilical cord blood. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) report found triclosan in the urine of 75 percent of the U.S. population.

This can’t be good.

Triclosan Alters Hormone Regulation in Animals

A study published in Toxicoological Science in 2009, found that exposure to triclosan substantially decreased levels of testosterone and thyroxine, (an important thyroid hormone), in young male rats.

Another study published in the same journal, Toxicological Science in 2010 found that triclosan affected estrogen-mediated responses in the pubertal and weanling female rat and also suppressed thyroid hormone.

You can draw your own conclusions about the effects on small mammals as it pertains to humans.

Fetal Growth and Development

This study published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2011 reveals high levels of triclosan in pregnant women. Using a nationally representative sample of the United States population from the NHANES 2003-2004 data, researchers found triclosan to be more highly concentrated in pregnant women than in the non-pregnant population.

Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. We all know at this point, that antibiotic resistance is a HUGE problem in this country.


In a study published in the journal Allergy, November 2012, triclosan exposure and allergic sensitization in Norwegian children was investigated. The researchers found that triclosan concentrations were associated with allergic sensitization, especially inhalant and seasonal allergens, rather than food allergens.

They concluded that these results are consistent with recent findings in other studies and provide additional evidence for an association between triclosan and allergy.

The authors indicate that additional research is needed to clarify the precise mechanism by which triclosan influences allergic sensitization.

The link between triclosan and allergic sensitization is difficult to explain, given that little information is available from experimental data on the mechanism of triclosan in relation to allergic disease outcomes.

Whether we understand the mechanism or not, children are becoming more and more allergic in recent years and it can be life threatening.

Toxic Breakdown Products

In the Journal of Environmental Science and Health in 2010, Fang reported that triclosan was found in finished drinking water, surface water, wastewater, and environmental sediments, as well as in the bile of wild fish, indicating extensive contamination of aquatic ecosystems.

A study published in the Journal of American Water Works Association in 2009 found triclosan to be extremely toxic to algae which in turn will affect the population of aquatic creatures that feed upon it.

According to the EPA’s Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey triclosan was detected in 92 percent of sewage sludge samples collectedfrom across the United States.

Phasing Out Triclosan

Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch are two organizations that are actively involved in a campaign to phase our tricolsan. Studies have increasingly linked Triclosan (and its chemical cousin triclocarban), to a wider range of adverse health and environmental effects than previously disclosed —  including skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, endocrine disruption to antibiotic resistance, tainted water, dioxin contamination and destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems.

If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I am in favor of supporting our beneficial bacteria and the microbiome we house in our gut. Using a substance such as triclosan is simply counterproductive and clearly unnecessary.

 The Solution

Stop using any antibacterial soap product. Check the ingredients in your personal care products. Better yet, make your own personal care products.

Here is a new e-book called DIY Organic Beauty Recipes from Mommypotamus that will teach you how to easily make your own, completely natural products. It’s cost effective and fun as well!

This post is shared at: Whole Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Mommy Club, Real Food Wednesday, Seasonal Celebration, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Creative Juice Thursday,Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Freaky Friday, Small Footprint Friday

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Leave a Comment

  • Linda December 12, 2012, 9:27 am

    What do you do with it if you already have it? Someone gave it to me some years back and it is still sitting on a shelf because I don’t want to throw it in the trash.

    • Emily December 14, 2012, 11:33 am

      Does your city have a household chemical pickup? That’s how I handle that kind of thing, even though it costs a little bit.

    • Beth D. December 16, 2012, 10:16 pm

      Throw it out. :/ IMO it seems like a no brainer… not good for you- toxic- toss it.

  • Lisa Lynn December 12, 2012, 12:26 pm

    This is really great information to know. I accidentally bought some antibacterial dish soap and decided to use it up and be more careful about the next bottle I buy. But now I am going to toss it out and get the 7th Generation dish soap I should have bought. Thanks for sharing!

    I would love to have you join the blog hop I co-host, Wildcrafting Wednesday…a place to link up your real food recipes, herbal remedies, natural living tips and self sufficiency ideas!

  • Susan Weinberg December 12, 2012, 8:38 pm

    A certain city in Northern AZ wanted to use triclosan treated waste water to create snow with their snow making machines for their ski slopes on the years that the snowfall was deficient. My husband who is well versed in chemistry says that when ultraviolet light is exposed to triclosan, it turns into dioxin. Imagine getting a face full of that when you are skiing. Are they meshugah? So said my husband that was working for the city at the time, so he had inside information. Not sure if they shelved the idea or not since we no longer live in the vicinity.

    Hubby and I make our own good ‘ol lye soap for our soapy needs.

  • Jill December 12, 2012, 8:51 pm

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for sharing that. That is meshugah!

  • Devorah December 12, 2012, 11:26 pm

    I just spit my food out laughing at seeing the word “meshugah” on a Real Food blog. Is that an understood word out there in the world? But yes, it is meshugah!

  • Dawn @ December 13, 2012, 8:55 am

    Wow. In baby toys and kitchen utensils? I am very particular about what is in the soap we use so I thought we were triclosan-free in our home. I had no idea it could be in our clothing and furniture. Another enlightening post by the Real Food Forager!

  • Emily December 14, 2012, 11:34 am

    Therapeutic-grade lemon essential oil is the perfect natural antiseptic. (Tea tree oil is, too, but it doesn’t smell nearly as nice. 😉 )

    • Susan Weinberg December 15, 2012, 2:58 am

      Also a fresh lemon slice. Like for a cutting board (not a meat cutting board, mind you) It appears the citric acid in the lemon does the work, I’m told.

  • Sharon Wallace December 18, 2012, 7:45 am

    Wow! Who knew? More and more reasons why DIY is so much better! Thanks so much for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday #67! I hope you’ll join us again this week!

  • Happy Life April 30, 2013, 8:27 am

    OMG! thanks for your fabulous post. I have learned something today.. thanks a lot.

  • Sky October 14, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Triclosan is not bad for you at all, it’s in Colgate toothpaste for a good reason. It exhibits substantivity! In a 4 year study, using “oral administration” of triclosan, there was no change in thyroid function.

  • The best antibacterial bar soap February 28, 2014, 11:36 am

    You can avoid the harsh chemicals in store-bought soaps by making your own. Here is my recommendation for a natural and harmless soap:

  • September 6, 2015, 11:16 pm

    The youre very professional .