Washing your hands is not as
safe as you think, especially if you are doing it with an antibacterial compound called
, which is
an ingredient of many household and personal care products such as soaps,
, clothing, and even children's toys. While the consumers
are made to believe that triclosan can protect them from harmful bacteria, new
research shows that this hazardous chemical is no more effective than the
conventional soap and water.
Triclosan, which persists in the environment and mixes with other
chemicals to form more toxic substances, is also known to contribute to the
growing problems of bacterial resistance
. It could be
responsible for a range of human and ecological health problems. It can
also reportedly cause some developmental issues in newborns and fetuses.
Triclosan is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) for its safety and efficacy.
Researchers conducted a study in
a group of doctors and nurses in two hospitals, designated as Hospital 1 and
Hospital 2. The results were published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
urine samples from two groups of 38 doctors and nurses, in which three fourths
of the participants were women.
Hospital 1 reportedly used an
antibacterial soap containing 0.3 percent triclosan, while Hospital 2 used
plain soap and water. It was found that participants from Hospital 1 had
significantly higher levels of triclosan in their urine as compared to
participants from Hospital. 2.
The researchers also noted down the participants who used a popular commercial toothpaste
triclosan. The scientists noted that this also contributed to higher levels of
triclosan in people who used them. At the end of the study, the researchers
concluded that washing hands with antibacterial soap accounted for even higher
triclosan levels than did brushing with the toothpaste containing triclosan.
One of the study investigators, Paul Blanc, who is a professor of medicine at
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) said "Antimicrobial soaps
can carry unknown risks, and triclosan is of particular concern. Our study
shows that people absorb this chemical at work and at home, depending on the
products that they use."
He also added "If non-triclosan-containing soaps are available, use the
alternative. This is based on the precautionary principle - that is, if you
don't know for certain that something is unsafe, it's better to err on the side
Antibacterial Soaps Side effects:
soaps have the potential to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thus if used frequently, they could kill some bacteria
and allow the
resistant subset to multiply. If this happens on a regular basis, it could
render the soap useless against the strain of bacteria.
Research shows that children with
prolonged exposure to triclosan have a higher chance of developing allergies
such as peanut
and hay fever
Scientists think that this could be due to reduced exposure to bacteria, which
is important for proper functioning and development of the immune system
known to disrupt thyroid
functions, which affects proper growth and
development in children.
strip the skin of its hydrating oils, which leads to dryness
, irritation and redness.