Have you ever heard of Triclosan? Chances are you haven’t (unless you read this blog regularly), but it is probably in a number of items currently in your home. Developed more than 40 years ago, this ingredient that is used to kill germs and is found in 75 percent of antibacterial soaps is ineffective and potentially harmful. As one of the most researched ingredients commonly used in household products, Triclosan is going to be under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this year. Because of this harmful substance’s germ-fighting powers, it is also in some toothpaste as an ingredient to combat gingivitis.
Advocates and lawmakers have put pressure on the FDA to test the safety of this ingredient, as previous studies have proved that Triclosan in animals has caused negative health effects. Allison Aiello, professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health noted that current knowledge of the chemical shows that the risks outweigh the benefits. Triclosan and other ingredients commonly found in household products have not been formally approved by U.S. health regulators because they were developed before modern-day laws required scientific review of ingredients.
One of the most daunting products that feature Triclosan as an ingredient is toothpaste. You can still find toothpaste for bad breath and gingivitis without resorting to one with harmful chemicals. Exposure to Triclosan can cause damage to the endocrine system, birth defects and a weakened immune system. However, some companies will disguise this ingredient on the label, so be aware of products containing the following: Additive B, Biofresh, Cloxifenolum, Irgasan (DP 300 or PG 60), Lexol-300, Microban or Ster-Zac.
You may want to consider good toothpaste that contains all-natural ingredients, no added dyes or artificial flavorings.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on August 13, 2012 could diminish muscle strength because the chemical interferes with the administration of calcium in and out of the cells. Mice and fish were tested to find impaired muscle activity, which researchers believe is strong evidence that the chemical poses a health concern to people.
“The target we’ve identified has been implicated in the impairment of heart function over a period of time,” Isaac Pessah, lead author of the study and professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, told FoxNews. “If an average individual loses 10 percent of their cardiac function, they’re not going to feel it. But if you’re a person with heart disease already at 50 percent of heart function capacity, reducing 10 percent or 20 percent could markedly hurt your health.”
The FDA’s role
In 1972, Congress passed a law that requires the FDA to set guidelines for chemicals that can be used and the appropriate amounts, and the first draft of regulations was published in 1978. However, there was not a significant amount of research available to deem Triclosan ineffective and unsafe despite the first draft of the guidelines suggesting so.
The FDA was slated to review the chemical last summer, but the completion date was pushed back to February 2013. The organization now states it will be reviewed by the end of the year. Although U.S. scientists argue that the review is overdue, the Endocrine Society flagged the chemical four years ago for its ability to alter thyroid and reproductive hormones.
Products that don’t pose harm
TheraBreath’s line of toothpastes poses no harm to its users because it contains natural ingredients while properly cleansing the mouth. TheraBreath PLUS Toothpaste is an extra strength product that fights bad breath, dry mouth, tooth sensitivity and gum problems.