When I wrote my book, Chemical-Free Skin Health®, I started to write a chapter about all sorts of chemical preservatives. As I began to research, it became clear that parabens and Triclosan were amongst the most insidious creepy chemicals. Like many, I began to see the fact that they kill good and bad bacteria indiscriminately like a bottled version of Viet Nam era “Agent Orange” also known as 24D. My book and my initial concern were quite different than most people concerned with their use. My fundamental concern was that both Triclsoan and paraben were cumulative and killed of the probiome/Microbiome on our skin leaving it vulnerable to attack from more aggressive pathogens. I believe and continue to research the concern that many skin disorders are misdiagnosed as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis when indeed they are really chemical burns and a reaction to our skin’s good bacteria being eradicated. Remembering that we have about 10 times more bacteria on our skin than skin cells as our natural symbiotic defense, when you kill them, it is hard for them to return and I believe that the really bad pathogens show up first causing these mimicked skin disorders.
Turns out that my concerns are probably correct and others being concerned with potential hormonal damage are correct as well. What I did not expect was to read a report that shows that using Triclosan reduces skeletal and heart muscle function by up to 25%. Keep in mind that this is a first blast of what I feel will be many, but the National Academy of Science take is pretty scary.
Below is a report of the finding by a group known for boiling science down into statements that most of us mere mortals can understand.
Normally, I am one that says read and study more. My research, my book and now this suggest that you stop using anything with Triclosan until we know differently. Also, keep in mind that in my book, I revealed that Triclosan is in many more things than just antibacterial soap. It is in food packaging, antibacterial sportswear, clothing and is injection molded into plastics.
So here we go!
Your Antibacterial Soap Could Be Harming You
Every time you wash your hands using antibacterial soap you probably feel good because you’re not spreading bugs. But check the bottle and you’ll probably find the soap contains triclosan—a chemical that has just been shown to impair muscle function in humans.
Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that triclosan hinders human muscle contractions at the cellular level, as well as inhibiting muscle function in both fish and mice. Isaac Pessah, one of the researchers, told Smithsonian:
“Triclosan is found in virtually everyone’s home and is pervasive in the environment. These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.”
The study investigated how triclosan affected human heart and skeletal muscle cells in the lab. They found that it disrupted communication between proteins which allow the muscles to function, in turn causing failure of both types of cells. They backed up those experiments with tests on fish and mice. The mice showed reductions in heart muscle function by as much as 25 percent, and a reduction of grip strength of 18 percent. The fish became less effective swimmers after exposure to triclosan.
So what’s to do? There’s no denying that the chemical has some negative effects on muscle function, and the researchers are genuinely concerned about the health risks it poses. Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, another of the researchers, explained to Smithsonian:
“The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic. Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models.”
Meanwhile, the FDA has declared that there’s no evidence to suggest that using antibac soaps with triclosan offer any health benefits over just washing with conventional soap and water. So, for now at least, it might pay to ditch your fancy handwash.