Daily News Archives
Antibacterial Agent Causes Health, Environmental Effects and Antibiotic
Pesticides, December 13, 2004) An
antibacterial chemical, commonly found in antibacterial soaps, deodorants,
toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics and plastics, has been repeatedly shown
to cause health and environmental effects, while compounding antibiotic
resistance, according to an article and literature review released by
Beyond Pesticides in the latest issue of Pesticides and You.
The article, “The Ubiquitous Triclosan: A common antibacterial
agent exposed,” explains how this toxic chemical shows up in common
consumer products, including antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes,
cosmetics, fabrics and plastics, and provides a thorough review of what
is known about the chemical and how it escapes full regulatory review.
The major findings of the
article and literature review include the following:
- Triclosan is found in
hundreds of common everyday products, including nearly half of all
commercial soaps. It is used so frequently that triclosan has made
its way into the human body—a Swedish study found triclosan
in human breast milk in three out of five women.
- Numerous studies have
found that triclosan promotes the emergence of bacteria that are resistant
to antibiotics. There is good evidence that with the continued widespread
use of triclosan, antibiotic resistance will become increasingly problematic.
- Dioxin, a highly carcinogenic,
endocrine disrupting compound, may be formed during the manufacturing
process of triclosan, and thus is a likely contaminant. More alarmingly,
researchers found that when sunlight is shined on triclosan in water
and on fabric, a portion of triclosan is transformed into dioxin.
Because of its ubiquitous nature, the conversion to dioxin is of major
- Triclosan is one of the
most frequently detected compounds in rivers, streams, and other bodies
of water, often in high concentrations. Triclosan is highly toxic
to a number of different types of algae. Since algae are the primary
producers in many aquatic ecosystems, high levels of triclosan may
have destructive effects on aquatic ecosystems.
text of the article is available on Beyond Pesticides’ website.
Other articles in this issue of Pesticides and You include “Montana’s
War on Weeds: Dow Chemical influences Forest Service shift to its herbicides,”
and “Lesson of the West Nile Virus Response: After five years,
what have we learned?” To subscribe, contact Beyond
Pesticides. For past issues, visit the Pesticides
and You Archives.