You may have read recently that the FDA banned the use of the anti-bacterial ingredient triclosan in hand and body soaps. That’s the ingredient in all those “anti-bacterial” soaps that line the shelves of your grocery and drug store. In addition to triclosan, many other anti-bacterial ingredients were banned. However, the use of triclosan and related chemicals is still allowed in other personal care products, including toothpaste, deodorant, pencils, acne medication and more.
Why Was Triclosan Banned in Soap?
Why were triclosan and related anti-bacterials banned? There is some evidence that triclosan, triclocarban and the other listed chemicals can disrupt hormone cycles and cause muscle weakness. This is according to Mae Wu, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which was the first organization to ask the FDA to ban the ingredients. In addition, there is zero evidence that these types of soaps work better than simple soap and water. The companies have one year to phase out their use of these chemicals, and many of these anti-bacterial ingredients are being replaced by yet more chemicals, particularly benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride or chloroxylenol (PCMX).
Triclosan is Still Found in Toothpaste and Many Other Personal Products
So if triclosan was banned in hand and body soaps, why is it still allowed in other products? My guess is because the FDA works slowly, and this is just the first step. Companies are already phasing out this ingredient in many of their products, but it is still present in many consumer products. A short list is as follows; to see the complete list, please visit Beyond Pesticides excellent information page.
Colgate Total Toothpaste (read their spin here, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.)
Colgate Total Breeze Daily Mouthwash
Reach Antibacterial Toothbrush
Bath & Body Works Anti-Bacterial Body Lotion
Arm and Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant
Queen Helene Tea Tree Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant
Murad Acne Complex Kit
Biofresh socks and underwear (!!!)
Ticonderoga Pencils with Microban Protection
Please be aware that if you are buying anything that claims to be “antibacterial” you are likely buying a product that contains either the banned ingredients or their substitutes (the substitutes are also under review by the FDA, so they’re not in the clear by any means.
Choose natural castile soap for your sink, or if you love a beautiful scent, I use Thieves Hand Soap. Beware of products that claim to be all-natural but contain synthetic fragrance and other unnecessary ingredients. For toothpaste, I use one of the following:
Auromere Ayurvedic Natural Toothpaste: an herbal toothpaste with a delicious taste, if you like licorice!
Simply Sooney Organic Vegan Toothpaste: this flouride-free toothpaste is made with only USA-sourced ingredients but DOES contain xylitol for those of you who choose to avoid it.
Thieves Toothpaste: Again, i tend to go with the Thieves products because I trust them and my kids and family love the taste. It contains rosemary, eucalyptus, lemon and cinnamon essentail oils, so your breathe smells great after brushing. To get the wholesale price, you do need to become a member, or you can purchase it at retail price.