More News on Triclosan, the Antibacterial Additive

big-space toxicsIn April of this year I posted an article “Good News: Triclosan Going Away, “ but it is not gone, so people still need to be aware of the danger from products that contain it. Three publications since the previous article indicate the continuing prevalence of triclosan and its harmful characteristics.

In June the American Chemical Society published an article about the safety and efficacy of triclosan in consumer products. It confirmed that it can disrupt signaling of the endocrine system, affecting the function of estrogens, androgens, and thyroid hormones. (reference:, June 23, 2014)

The Beyond Pesticides organization reported that 100% of women in a multiethnic population in Brooklyn, New York tested positive for triclosan in their urine, and in half of them it showed up in umbilical cord blood. As one of the researchers stated, “this means that it transfers to fetuses.” A 2008 study in Sweden found triclosan in the breast milk of nursing mothers! (reference: Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2014)

We have learned that triclosan can get into the body through antibacterial hand soaps and some toothpaste, and we now learn that it can enter through vegetables. How could that be? If vegetable are grown using waste water, i.e., treated sewage water, they can pick up triclosan and chemicals from personal care products and drugs that are not completely removed in waster water treatment facilities. Over one third of the country’s vegetables and two thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are produced in California, and increasingly they are watered with municipal wastewater. Furthermore, with the severe drought in California, new policies call for a three-fold increase in water reuse by 2030. The report also states that triclosan and its metabolites are present in fish, umbilical blood and human milk. One study showed that triclosan from sewage sludge (used as crop fertilizer) can be taken up by soybean plants and the soybeans, and then consumed by animals and people. (reference: Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2014)

Bottom Line: we can’t be too careful, but simple precautions can protect us.


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Next time: An overview of health news from the Silent Spring Institute and the University of California Medical School.


About donlouis

The author has long had a keen interest in staying healthy and fit, and in doing whatever I can to keep the natural environment unpolluted and a healthy space for people and all animals. As a former Board Member of a municipal water district, I regularly had to deal with the issue of water quality. I first became aware of radiation hazards from toxic materials while working on uranium for nuclear reactors. During the 1960s I was tuned into the global hazard from Strontium 90 raining down from atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. While working in the chemical industry in later years I became aware of the many forms of chemical contaminants entering the environment every day, and resolved to do something about it. I am able to make sense out of the voluminous descriptions of common toxic chemical because of my training in chemistry, with a Ph.D. degree and several decades of research and development work in the chemical industry. My training and experience enables me to present to readers reliable and current information on the topic of chemical hazards in the environment, and their threats to human health. All my life I have loved hiking and camping in nature. Skiing, river kayaking, and tennis have been my favorite physical activities. Nature photography is my artistic passion.
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