When is a ban not a ban? How about when a banned substance is still legally out there… and still potentially adding to a growing health crisis.
You probably saw last year’s headlines, when the Food and Drug Administration banned triclosan, the active ingredient in some antibacterial products.
Well, that’s what most headlines told you. But that’s not what actually happened. There’s a huge gap between the headlines and reality. And you need to know about that gap… because the danger is still there. And so is the “banned” chemical.
What the FDA Really Banned
To give the FDA credit, they started out on the right foot with this one. In 2013, they proposed a rule to limit use of antibacterial chemicals like triclosan and triclocarban.
The FDA was worried about spreading resistant bacteria, and the hormonal effects of these chemicals.
So the FDA asked antibacterial soap makers to prove their claims. They couldn’t. In fact, many studies showed washing with plain soap and water works as well as using antibacterial soaps.
With no proof of added benefit, the FDA’s final rule banned 19 chemicals from consumer soap/wash products.
But it didn’t ban any of them from use in healthcare… or in other consumer products. So you may encounter triclosan at your doctor’s office… in an outpatient clinic… or in the hospital.
You may also encounter these 19 “banned” chemicals in deodorants… hand wipes… and your toothpaste.
The FDA may have protected you from antibacterial hand soap. But you can still spread these chemicals under your arms and all around your mouth.
Where they help build stronger bacteria and may affect your hormones… exactly as they would spread on your hands.
And the story just got a little worse.
A Horrific Discovery: Cross-Resistance
Quinolones are potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics. That means they work against a lot of dangerous bacteria. They block their ability to replicate DNA. This shuts down their ability to reproduce.
But scientists in the U.K. recently found something alarming about bacteria that become resistant to quinolones. They also become resistant to triclosan.
According to the researchers, “The worry is that this might happen in reverse and triclosan exposure might encourage growth of antibiotic resistant strains.”
In other words, what if triclosan were helping breed germs that could shrug off quinolones, too? As one of the doctors points out, “…triclosan has become ubiquitous in the environment and even human tissues in the last 20 years.”
We could easily find ourselves up this creek without a paddle.
But you can lower your exposure to these chemicals.
Use This Resource to Protect Yourself From Dangerous Chemicals
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has an online cosmetics database. It includes more than 69,000 products. And it’s not just make-up.
Almost every personal care product you’ve ever heard of is included. And you can search by ingredient. For example, I searched for “triclosan.” I got dozens of results. Including popular brands of toothpaste and deodorant.
The EWG database isn’t perfect. But it’s a lot better than anything from Uncle Sam. According to N.J. Senator Frank Lautenberg, only 1% of the 84,000 chemicals in use today have been studied for safety.
Meanwhile, antibacterials – with little or no proven benefit – still threaten our health. Because a ban isn’t always a ban.
To help protect yourself and your family, visit EWG’s Skin Deep website. It’s at https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. You’ll discover more than products that still have triclosan. You’ll also find products with formaldehyde releasers… potential cancer triggers… hormone disruptors… and more.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
“FDA issues final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps,” FDA.gov. Sep 2, 2016.
Hartmann, E., “Banned antimicrobial chemicals found in many household products,” CNN.com. Jan 25, 2017.
“New study links antibiotic resistance to common household disinfectant triclosan,” University of Birmingham. July 3, 2017.
“Everyday chemicals may be harming kids, panel told,” CNN.com. Oct 26, 2010.
Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, Environmental Working Group. Accessed Jul 3, 2017.
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