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Do you really think carefully when you pick a soap off that retail shelves for your handwashing needs? If not, maybe need to re-think over. I used to ignore all ingredients listed at the back of each item however I just googled up the word “Triclosan” – a common antibacterial and antifungal agent – I found at the back of the antibacterial soap and figured out it’s not really prefarable for use. Here’s why:

Overuse of chemicals like triclosan has been suggested to cause sensitive bacteria to evolve resistance to its antibacterial action. Should any antibiotic be discovered that works similarly to triclosan, this antibiotic’s effectiveness to combat infections will be reduced because people will be hosting resistant bacteria already due to their use of soaps containing triclosan.

And further more by Victoria Times Colonist

Whether you’re washing your hands or the kitchen countertops, it’s best for your family’s health and the environment to pass up antibacterial products in favour of plain soap and water, a University of Victoria researcher has found.

UVic molecular biologist Caren Helbing found while triclosan — common in soaps, clothing, toys and other items having antibacterial properties — isn’t lethal in small quantities, it can potentially affect the human thyroid gland. The thyroid plays a role in development, body temperature and metabolism.

“For most things, regular soap is just fine. In terms of children’s products, they shouldn’t have triclosan in them at all,” Helbing said in an interview.

Helbing’s research, published last week in the online journal Aquatic Toxicology, found triclosan to be harmful in the development of frogs and potentially humans. At the molecular level, the chemical compound is similar to vertibrates’ thyroid hormone. Helbing found triclosan at levels found in the environment disrupted a tadpole’s transition into a frog.

“Frogs serve as a very sensitive sentinel species for chemicals that can actually disrupt thyroid hormone action,” said Helbing. “Triclosan at levels measured in our waterways can actually affect how thyroid hormones works in frogs.”

The chemical compound is man-made for the purpose of killing bacteria and is showing up in more consumer products. Easy-clean items marketed as containing “Microban” contain triclosan, said Helbing.

But Helbing said triclosan is not necessary to clean up most household spills, and other scientists agree.

“When you ask a qualified microbiologist, they’ll tell you that it’s being overdone and there’s probably a greater chance of creating bacterial resistance than preventing problems,” said Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. “Washing with soap and water is enough, except in a hospital environment … You don’t want to use a jackhammer to kill an ant when stepping on it will do.

“The reason why the triclosan story is interesting is it’s so pervasive — it’s in so many products. Even (though) the risk (of ill effects) is small, the exposure is too large.”

Helbing agrees the prevalence of triclosan in the environment can make the fight against antibiotic-resistant illnesses more difficult.

It can also affect normal human development: “There are a lot of different processes in the body that can be affected.”

In March, the Canadian Paediatric Society called for parents to stop buying antibacterial products, and instead use soap and water to wash toys, hands or household items.

Triclosant can also be find in soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, shaving creams, mouth washes and cleaning supplies.



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