Ditch Antibacterials. DON’T USE AIR HAND DRYER

The post, ANTIBACTERIALS: DEMO SAFETY OR REMOVE PER FDA, first told you about the FDA proposed rule on Dec. 16, 2013 that gave soap manufacturers one year to demonstrate that antibacterial additives are safe or to take them out of the products altogether.  The FDA rule required manufacturers to provide more “substantial data” to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps, but it is limited since it only covers those consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes that are used with water.  

This is concerning as it has been found in the urine of 3/4 of Americans, and it is detected in 97% of breast-milk tested (see citations here).  This study, Health Care Worker Exposures to the Antibacterial Agent Triclosanfound the presence of triclosan in nearly 75% of doctors and nurses tested.

Mercola’s post today, “Why Ditching Antibacterial Soap Is a Good Idea, December 3, 2014 is shared to piggyback and reiterate the importance of removing the antibacterial chemicals from the products you use beyond those used with water such as hand sanitizers, cosmetics, and other topicals.

Hand Washing:  Just use soap and water.   Mercola’s “How To” Instructions:
  • Use warm, running water and a mild soap (avoid antibacterial soap),
  • Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, scrubbing for at least 15 or 20 seconds (most people only wash for about 6 seconds),
  • Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails,
  • Rinse thoroughly under running water,
  • Dry hands with a paper towel instead of the air dryer, ALWAYS.   Note: I am adding this to Mercola’s “How To” list…  Who knew those air hand dryers spread bacteria putting such right back on those hands?   Best kept secret perhaps, but the study, The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the Evidence  opened my eyes and concludes: “Most studies have found that paper towels … remove bacteria effectively, and cause less contamination of the washroom environment. From a hygiene standpoint, paper towels are superior to air dryers; therefore, paper towels should be recommended for use in locations in which hygiene is paramount, such as hospitals and clinics…. [and] considered as a means of improving hand hygiene adherence among health care workers. Our findings may have implications for health professionals and medical educators aiming to design effective programs to promote hand hygiene practices.”  One brilliant microbiome researcher, Jonathan Eisen   @phylogenomics  tweeted a week ago “Not surprising,” to the increased bacterial contamination that air hand dryers spread.  I was surprised.
  • Also in public places, use a paper towel to open the door as public door handles aren’t likely sanitary.

Mercola’s Article, “Why Ditching Antibacterial Soap Is a Good Idea, Summary:

“traces of triclosan in 100 percent of all urine samples collected from pregnant women1, 2, 3, 4 (references are at the bottom of Mercola’s article) (all of whom were residents of Brooklyn, New York). Triclosan was also found in 51 percent of cord blood samples. Yet another antibacterial compound, triclocarban, was detected in 87 percent of urine samples, and 23 percent of the cord blood samples. A second study, Health Care Worker Exposures to the Antibacterial Agent Triclosanfound the presence of triclosan in nearly 75 percent of doctors and nurses tested.”

Health Hazards:  The Atlantic, The Ingredient to Avoid in Soap, November 17, 2014 notes the following health hazards linked with triclosan:

  • Allergies or hay fever (see The Impact of Bisphenol A and Triclosan on Immune Parameters in the U.S. Population, NHANES 2003–2006  which looked at environmental exposures of two endocrine-disrupting compounds [BPA and triclosan] and immune dysfunction (antibodies present for allergies or hay fever in US aged  ≥ 6 years of age.)  Conclusions:  BPA and triclosan  had positive association with allergy or hay fever diagnosis  affecting immune function as measured by CMV antibody levels, with differential consequences based on age.
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Weight gain
  • Inflammatory responses
  • Aggravate the growth of liver and kidney tumors, which came as a surprise to the researchers.  According to one of the authors, The Ingredient to Avoid in Soap“We aren’t saying that triclosan causes cancer. We’re just saying that with constant exposure, this environmental agent, which is extremely ubiquitous, can promote development of tumors.  If one can avoid it, I would avoid it.”  In another interview, Germ-killer Triclosan Found in Soap May Cause Liver Damage, he clarified by saying:  “If you have a damaged cell that’s been attacked by a mutagen, triclosan promotes the development of the tumor. The compound also causes inflammation, which means that all the ingredients necessary for developing cancer are present.”
Minnesota Bans Triclosan

Senate Environment and Energy Chair John Marty explains:

Summary of the Capitol Report on Minnesota Triclosan Ban:  
  • The Minnesota ban takes effect January 2017.
  • Hopefully other states will copy and put pressure on industry.  Marketing now is turning tide with “triclosan free” printing on toothpaste.  Colgate is the one brand still containing triclosan.
  • Triclosan is known to be a hormone disruptor in animals.
  • How enforceable is the ban?  BPA is still in Advent baby bottles and Camel back sippy cups.  These can not be sold in Minnesota due to BPA bans.  But EPA rarely bans substances;  instead industry usually will voluntarily remove the chemical to save face.  John Marty expects triclosan to be voluntarily removed by industry within the next few years.

Truly, triclosan is ubiquitous in our world.  Even milk has traces of triclosan (see here):

What's In Our Milk?  Triclosan too.
Source: Milk Hormones! Are These Chemicals in Your Milk?

Still… read labels and ditch the antibacterials.

In health through awareness,


Now I'd like to hear your thoughts... comments are always welcome!