I love receiving gifts that are a nicer versions of things I already buy on a regular basis, such as gourmet foods, fancy bath and body products, or even fun cocktail napkins. So naturally I was very excited when I received a Bath and Body Works hand soap for a stocking stuffer at Christmas. The one from last Christmas had just run out!
As I was washing my hands with my new soap, I turned it around to check out the description of the product and then I saw it: triclosan.
What is triclosan? It’s an antimicrobial agent found in consumer products that I’ve been trying to avoid. It’s been around for a while, but perhaps you’ve heard of it more recently thanks to an official FDA Consumer Update.
Why is the FDA potentially worried about it? Use of triclosan may lead to antimicrobial resistance, much as our overuse of antibiotics is leading to antibiotic resistance.
Why is this a problem? Because the stronger bacteria become, the less responsive they are to the antibiotics we have available. These super bacteria, such as MRSA , spread through the community, introducing a new strain of infectious disease that is more difficult to cure and more expensive to treat. Though new antibiotics are being tested, we only have so many different antibiotics we can use at the present time. Once we run out of new ones to give someone, that’s it.
At the hospital I work at, we use these hand sanitizers.
As you can see on the back, this hand sanitizer uses alcohol to disinfect. While there hasn’t been any strong evidence yet to link alcohol sanitizers with superbugs, they are incredibly drying, so I usually only use it about once a day, before I eat lunch. Otherwise, I use good ol’ soap and water since it’s just as good as antibacterial soap at getting rid of germs.
Additionally, there are some questions about whether triclosan is a hormone disrupter. Two strikes against this chemical is enough to make me want to avoid it.
So, what can you get instead when you need hand soap? I’d suggest the Method brand. We’ve bought the regular dispenser and then get the Method Gel Hand Wash Refill in whatever scent is available. The product is affordable (the refill was only $5!), biodegradable, and naturally derived.
Though I’m only talking about triclosan in hand soap, it may also be found in body soap, toothpaste, deodorant, cosmetics, kitchenware (such as antimicrobial cutting boards), clothes (such as industrial shoes), children’s toys, and other household and consumer products.
Have you heard of triclosan before? Have you been avoiding it or using in moderation? Are you afraid of superbugs?
Please note I am not affiliated with any of these companies and was not paid to discuss the products. This is purely my opinion.
*Doxycycline picture c/o Shorelander