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The Dirty Truth About Antibacterial Soaps

While advancements in science and technology improve many of the products we have used for years, sometimes we’re better off just using the tried and true method. Case in point, antibacterial soaps. For the last 10 years or so, antibacterial soaps have become a huge seller. Companies have marketed them as a way to get your hands cleaner and kill more germs than simply using soap and warm water. Do they really work as well as advertised though, and are they just as safe for our families? The simple answer is no. In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that “there is no added benefit” to using antimicrobial soap as opposed to soap and warm water. So clearly it doesn’t do its job as far as being a more effective cleanser, but is it healthy for us and our loved ones? According to a new study from the University of California, the answer is again no. The main ingredient in antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers is called triclosan. The toxic chemical created back in the 1970’s for use in hospitals was found to cause not only liver fibrosis, but also cancerous liver tumors in lab mice when administered over a period of six months. While the comparison of lab mice to humans isn’t exact, the researchers still believe the “study demonstrates that [triclosan] acts as a ... tumor promoter and that the mechanism of [triclosan]-induced mouse liver pathology may be relevant to humans." Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers are not the only products that contain triclosan. Many products today ranging from toothpastes, cleaning supplies and even some children’s toys have been manufactured using the harmful chemical. The results of this and other studies are so concerning the FDA “has given manufacturers until next year to prove they do more good than harm.” Researchers recommend simply washing your hands with soap and warm water to avoid the extremely dangerous chemical.

For more information on the dangers of triclosan and the steps the FDA is taking to ensure our products are safe, follow the link: