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The culprit: Triclosan. This germ-killing chemical is found in a wide range of products, from toothpaste to hand soap, and it's been making headlines lately thanks to a recent Canadian ruling deeming triclosan as toxic to the environment, especially aquatic life.
Our neighbors to the north have taken a stand on this chemical and are working to curtail the use of triclosan throughout Canada. But not the United States. Even though the Food and Drug Administration has admitted that there are "valid concerns" about the adverse health effects triclosan poses to humans, it's still allowed in soaps, makeup, deodorants, toothpaste, and many other personal care products.
Triclosan by Any Other Name Is Still Triclosan
Where did triclosan come from and what was its original use? The Chemical company Ciba invented the chemical in the 1960s. It was first introduced in the health care industry in a surgical scrub kit in 1972. Over the last decade, though, there has been a rapid increase in the use of triclosan-containing products. According to the American Journal of Infection Control, nearly 100 percent of antibacterial liquid hand soaps found in the U.S. contain triclosan. Antibacterial bar soaps sometimes contain a similar ingredient called triclocarban. (Triclosan also appears under the brand names, Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, BioFresh, Microban.) All in all, the CDC found in 2000 that products containing antibacterial agents has escalated from a few dozen products in the mid-1990s to over 700 today.
It’s important to note that this growth in the use of triclosan is accompanied by opportunistic marketing that plays on the fear of the H1N1 virus, and the fear of germs in general...
Colgate Total toothpaste is a good toothpaste because it contains the anti-bacterial ingredient Triclosan. It has a germ-fighting ability that lasts for up to 12 hours after you brush. Colgate Total has also become the first toothpaste accepted by the American Dental Association for the prevention and reduction of bad breath. It has been shown to reduce bad breath up to 51% for 12 hours after brushing.
One way to find toothpaste with no antibacterial agents is to avoid those that claim to help with gingivitis. Or you can check the label to see if triclosan is an active ingredient.
Embrace natural beauty!
But its dangers aren't limited to Mother Earth: A growing body of research also shows that this ingredient can alter how our thyroids work, increase our resistance to antibiotics, and even make our allergies more severe.