Triclosan was one of the most widely used ranges of chemicals known as ‘super-chemicals’ to fight and keep the growth of germs in the product in check until the prevalence of antibiotic resistance that resulted in the creation of superbugs.
Recently, the super-chemical has seen to lose its effectiveness as the harmful microorganisms are resistant to it. There are now two questions that are asked about the use of triclosan in different products.
The first question about triclosan is whether it should be added to the products to fight off potential non-resistant superbugs. The second question is of more concern and asks whether the addition of the chemical causes harm instead of benefits.
Majority of the researchers give a very straight and simple answer to that. The addition of triclosan has been one of the biggest causes of the development of antibiotic resistance in the first place and may as well spread to more areas of the world because of the chemical.
What Is Triclosan?
If a person reads the content table of most of the household products used today such as toothpaste, beauty products, toys, hand soap and bedding he/she is likely to see triclosan as it is a wide-spectrum as well as potent antifungal and antibacterial chemical.
It is specifically added to such products to combat the surface bacteria or germs. This, in turn, effectively avoids the spreading of infections or diseases.
The chemical was first created by the company known as Novartis in the year 1969. Back then, the use of triclosan was only confined to the hospital. As time passed, the consumer market got hold of it and started using it in common household products.
Triclosan is originally an organic polychloro phenoxy phenol which is broken down into dioxin to be used in different products through fatty acid synthesis to target the bacteria.
In accordance with the latest studies on triclosan, the use of the chemical can lead to harmful effects not only on the health of a person but the environment especially because of the process which turns it into dioxin.
There are now numerous efforts to ban the chemical in the United States. Many of the companies which previously used triclosan are now removing it from their products containing it.
What Are The Dangers of Triclosan?
The dangers of the chemical can be figured out after knowing that is the family Agent Orange belongs to. Agent Orange is in fact, the hazardous chemical that was used back in the day of the Vietnam War.
Now think of all the adverse impacts it can have on the health of a person and how regularly are people exposed to it since it is present in many of the products that are used on a daily basis such as toothpaste or mouthwash.
Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Food and Drug Administration which lasted for two years concluded that adding triclosan to products has no benefit to the health. So, the antibacterial soaps and similar products are pretty much useless and can be harmful instead.
One of the effects of being constantly exposed to the chemical includes the changes in thyroid serum and testosterone levels. Secondly, it can also affect estrogen synthesis in women. The worse part may be that the effects are long-lasting and can even be passed on to offspring.
These changes in hormones are bound to affect the entire endocrine system. This makes triclosan a dangerous endocrine disruptor.
Additionally, the presence of many dangerous chemicals in the commonly used products has now been linked to the issue of the rise of sensitivities and allergies around the world. Triclosan is one of those chemicals.
A study conducted in 2013 in Norway observed the effects of triclosan from products in kids between the ages of 10-12 and concluded that the changes cause changes in the bacterial flora present on the skins of the children.
Asthma, seasonal and food allergies and hay fever are among the common impacts of triclosan in products on the children. A similar study held in the US had the same conclusion.
Perhaps the most dangerous impact of triclosan is the growth of cancerous tumors. Triclosan is turned into dioxin before the addition of products which is a known carcinogen and the chemical itself can cause many types of cancer.
Triclosan, combined with the chlorinated or toxic tap water has been seen to produce chloroform in the body that is another well-known carcinogen.
In addition to the negative effects on the health of people, triclosan is particularly dangerous for the environment that can damage plant and aquatic life, change hormones and sex of fish, and kill algae.