1) A substance that is poisonous to living organisms, such as a pesticide.
2) The destruction of life. ▼
Antimicrobial pesticides destroy or suppress growth of bacteria, viruses, or fungi on surfaces.
These are regulated by the EPA.
A loophole in federal law allows identical active ingredients to be used in food, food wrappers, and personal care products without being called pesticides.
Biocides in these products are regulated by the FDA.
The toxicology is the same.
Triclosan is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent with some antifungal and antiviral properties.
It works by blocking an enzyme that is essential for fatty acid synthesis in microbes.
This affects the microbe's cells and reproduction.
It is very potent.
Triclosan journeys into water ecosystems.
It moves through the food chain and water supply.
Eventually it travels into humans.
Triclosan is present in the blood of nearly 100% of everyone tested.
Research has shown that triclosan can rapidly photodegrade into dioxin.
Dioxin causes cancer, fertility loss, altered sex hormones, miscarriage, birth defects, and impaired immunity.
Chemically, triclosan closely resembles some estrogens.
Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor.
This research demonstrated that triclosan hastens the transformation of tadpoles into adult frogs.
- Significant weight loss
- Accelerated hind-limb development
- Brain activity linked with uncontrolled cell growth
- Altered gene activity
Concentrations as low as 0.15 ppb are capable of disrupting a hormone mechanism that is nearly identical in frogs and humans.
Triclosan is present in human breast milk.
It is lipophilic; it bioaccumulates in fatty tissue.
Products containing triclosan react with chlorinated water to produce chloroform.
This happens under normal household conditions.
So far, all products tested produce either chloroform or other chlorinated byproducts.
In some cases a person’s annual exposure to chloroform may increase 40% above levels already found in tap water alone.
There is evidence that triclosan causes photoallergic contact dermatitis (PACD).
This can occur when skin exposed to triclosan is also exposed to sunlight.
PACD symptoms include an eczema rash on sun-exposed areas such as the face, neck, back of the hands, and arms.
Triclosan's interaction with other body burden toxicants is not well understood.
Structurally, triclosan is very similar to PBDEs and PCBs.
Triclosan (Microban®, Biofresh®) is used in over 5,000 common personal care products including toothpastes, cosmetics, deodorants, and ~50% of all commercial soaps.
But antibacterial soaps containing triclosan are no better than plain soaps at preventing infections .
Instead, these products increase the likelihood for antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria to emerge.
The FDA does not review or approve cosmetic ingredients and products before they are sold to the public.
Companies are not required to perform safety testing in advance.
Recalls are voluntary.
Triclosan is also used in clothing, plastics, toys, countertops, and other products.
Tons of triclosan are released into the environment every year.
Triclosan effluents affect both the structure and the function of water ecosystems.
Sources for learning more about triclosan include