Thursday, July 24, 2008

Anti antimicrobials - time to get serious about triclosan and triclocarban

I thought I was “antibacterial” savvy. For years I’ve read labels on antiperspirants and soaps before tossing them into the shopping cart. It wasn’t until I joined a consumer products working group, whose current focus is the dynamic duo of antibacterials, triclosan and triclocarbon, that I found I should also be checking my toothpaste. That’s right, listed right there on the ingredients for Colgate toothpaste was triclosan.

So why the outrage, what’s so bad about these products? Most experts including physicians groups and an FDA panel agree that these antibacterials, originally used in hospitals, aren’t really necessary for the average consumer. Unless there’s a reason to be ultra-clean, there’s nothing like a good hand washing with plain old soap.

Then there are the environmental implications of washing this stuff down the drain. As discussed a while back on this site, these chemicals tend to make their way through sewage treatment plants, persisting in soil and water. But that’s not all folks. Back when I wrote about antimicrobials I focused on the release and impact of these things into the environment. But now I read that triclosan is detectable in breast milk. And although the author concludes that concentrations are below those that might be cause for concern, here we have a chemical that 1) doesn’t seem to do much good 2) gets into the environment and stays there and 3) gets into breast milk. Hmmm.

The breast milk study, by A.D. Dayan, found “No triclosan was detected in 2 samples, it was barely detectable in 9 and the concentration ranged from about 100 to about 2100 μg/kg lipid in the other 51 milk samples.” With the majority of samples testing positive it’s curious that Dayan ponders the results, adding the following “caveats” for how and why these samples might contain the antibacterial:

"Possible contamination at the time of collection.• For example, might the mother have used a triclosan-containing soap to wash her breasts shortly before donating the milk? When did she last use a medicated deodorant, dentifrice or dusting powder?• Was the milk sample collected early or late in lactation after parturition because the body’s fat stores change with time, possibly affecting systemic exposure to any lipophilic material stored in fat?• When was the sample collected in each episode of lactation, i.e. was it ‘fore-milk’, which is more watery, or a later, hind-milk sample with a higher fat content?• Was the sample collected after a period during which the mother had not breast fed or expressed milk? Even a necessarily brief period without milk expression may make the first sample of milk then obtained more concentrated than usual.”

Skepticism is fine – what would science be without some healthy skepticism. But in this case I can’t help but be skeptical in the opposite direction – if there’s no clear benefit of the stuff – why risk exposing the most vulnerable population? Besides none of these caveats lessen the implication that breast fed infants of these women would likely be exposed at some point.

Now, a study by Bruce Hammock (from the University of California, Davis) and others, published in Environmental Health Perspectives suggest that use of these products may in fact, do more harm than good. Reporting that while triclocarban enhanced activation of steroid hormone dependent genes, triclosan was found to be antagonistic in assays designed to evaluate interaction with steroid hormone dependent activity, the authors suggest caution when it comes to triclosan and triclocarbon concluding:

“These observations have potentially significant implications with regard to human and animal health since exposure may be directly through dermal contact or indirectly through the food chain. These screening studies revealed that further investigations into the biological and toxicological effects of TCC [triclocarban], its cabanilide analogs, and TCS [triclosan] are urgently needed."

Perhaps one route, rather than relying on the consumer to read, read, read is to encourage producers to remove the stuff - or to encourage the EPA to cancel all non-medical uses - which is exactly what several environmental and public health organizations are suggesting according to an article in Water and Wastewater News.

But for now, until their campaigns are successful, it’s time to take cleanliness into our own hands and keep reading those labels.

1 comment:

Rev. K. L. Maines said...

This is an important news tip I hope you will read.
Please help stop the misuse and overuse of Triclosan. I know this sounds very crazy, but perhaps you could just run a story about the dangers of Triclosan. There is lot of hard science proving the dangers of this pesticide. Triclosan is used in many hand soaps and other personal care items. The EPA will soon rule on Triclosan's use. It's up for renewal.

Greetings! This summer the Lord showed me a vision dream and impressed on me the need for people to educate themselves concerning the products they buy and consume. This is not an advertisement, and I'm not asking you for money. I'm writing this because I believe the Lord is warning people of days to come. I'm no one of any great power or significance. You are an agency of influence. I'm not looking for any credit or byline--you are free to use my name it that is your policy, but it's fine if you don't. It's not about me, it's about the message and doing God's will. I'm not looking for money or support. I believe the Lord has shown me a warning for His people. I'm just obeying what the Lord has called me to do. He warned me that the below mentioned chemical will kill us if we continue to use it outside of the medical field. I had no idea about this chemical until the Lord spoke to me about it in a dream.
There are certain chemicals that are found in everyday products that are going to wreak havoc on our environment and well-being. One such chemical is Triclosan. Triclosan is an excellent product when used by healthcare providers who are working in third-world countries during disease outbreaks. It can be a lifesaver to medical workers under those circumstances; however, the use of triclosan has not been tightly regulated, and it is now being overused in many products you and I use every day. The warning cry is that this chemical, and similar compounds, will end up killing us if we continue to misuse and overuse them. I believe this powerful dream was from the Lord. God is warning His people not to use these products.

Please do not use or purchase triclosan-based products.

The next day I researched it and this is what I found:

I hope you will take the time to read this brief message about the dangers of the chemical Triclosan and similar tricloson-like products (such as Triclocarban and quaternary ammonium compounds):

*Overuse puts us all at risk at contracting antibiotic resistant superbugs, and individually triclosan-based products weaken the immune systems. *Triclosan is found in hundreds of common everyday products, including nearly half of all commercial soaps.

*It is used so frequently that triclosan has made its way into the human body - a Swedish study found triclosan in human breast milk in three out of five women.

*Numerous studies have found that triclosan promotes the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

*There is good evidence that with the continued widespread use of triclosan, antibiotic resistance will become increasingly problematic.

*Dioxin, a highly carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting compound, may be formed during the manufacturing process of triclosan, and thus is a likely contaminant. More alarmingly, researchers found that when sunlight is shined on triclosan in water and on fabric, a portion of triclosan is transformed into dioxin. Because of its ubiquitous nature, the conversion to dioxin is of major concern.

*Triclosan is one of the most frequently detected compounds in rivers, streams, and other bodies of water, often in high concentrations. Triclosan is highly toxic to a number of different types of algae. Since algae are the primary producers in many aquatic ecosystems, high levels of triclosan may have destructive effects on aquatic ecosystems.

*The American Medical Association took an official stance against adding antimicrobials to consumer products in 2000 and has repeatedly urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better regulate these chemicals.

A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectives by, Isaac Pessah, PhD, director of the U.C. Davis Children's Center for Environmental Health, looked at how triclosan may affect the brain. Pessah's study suggests that some people may carry a mutated gene that makes it easier for triclosan to attach to their cells. That could make them more vulnerable to any effects triclosan may cause.

The Lord has shown me many things. For example, the Lord revealed to me that the Soviet Union would crumble as His judgment fell on them for abusing His people. It came to pass. Before the hurricane hit New Orleans, LA, I had a vision dream of water rising up so high that people had to bust out the roofs in order escape it, and some abandoned their homes to run to the stadium only to die. This came to pass. A more recent example, three years ago the Lord gave me a vision dream in which I saw black tornadoes rising from oil fields and the Lord warned me that gas prices would rise so high that it would wreck the US economy. This is happening now.

I feel the Lord calling and pulling on me out of my comfort zone to tell people and warn them about the dangers of Triclosan.
I am a duly ordained pastor.

My contact info:

Rev. K. L. Maines

P O Box 1016

Georgetown, KY 40324


Thank you for your time,

Blessings to you,

Rev. K. L. Maines
Rev. K. L. Maines
Duly Ordained Pastor/Evangelist

Visit my blog: