Tag Archives: Antibacterial

Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System

 

 

TOP triclosan toothpaste

 

Take a look at the ingredients in your toothpaste. Is triclosan on the list? If so, switching brands would be a good idea.

 

Some products containing triclosan. (Source. www.achildgrows.com)
Some products containing triclosan. (Source. www.achildgrows.com)

 

Triclosan is the active ingredient in many widely used antibacterial products. You probably used some – or many – of them in your own home. These products claim to kill “99.9% of germs” as if that were a good thing … and triclosan is the killer.

 

(Source:  www.greenlivingonline.com)
(Source: www.greenlivingonline.com)

 

 

TRICLOSAN: A PROBLEMATIC CHEMICAL WITH ADVERSE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS  (Francis, 2014), (Kaplan, 2014), (Mercola, 2014)

Triclosan is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent present in a wide variety of consumer products: toothpastes, liquid soaps, dish washing liquids, mouth washes, face washes, hand sanitizers, surgical cleaning scrubs, shaving gels, deodorants, detergents, textiles, socks, workout clothes, toys, plastic kitchenware, cutting boards, school supplies – and many more.
Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969 and is now widely used as an antimicrobial. Do you want to brush your teeth with pesticide? For that matter, do you think it’s wise to kill 99% of the useful bacterial in your mouth daily?

 

 

(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
The label on Colgate toothpastes lists the amount of triclosan in its products as only 0.30% – which may seem very small. But because triclosan is extremely powerful at killing bacteria and other microbes, this negligible amount makes the chemical a powerfully active ingredient.
Aside from killing 99% of our useful microbes along with the harmful ones, triclosan also reacts with water to form chloroform, a possible carcinogen, and with sunlight to form dioxins, known endocrine disruptors. (Angkadjaja, 2012)

 

 

(Source: www.cela.ca)
(Source: www.cela.ca)
Triclosan’s chemical structure is similar to thyroid hormones and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs – toxic chemicals now banned in the US but still found in the environment). This similarity allows it to attach to thyroid hormone receptors, altering hormone regulation and possibly interfering with fetal development. Scientists have noted an increased cancer risk from triclosan exposure. And bacteria exposed to triclosan are apt to become resistant to antibiotics.

 

 

(Source: thehealthykey.com)
(Source: thehealthykey.com)

 

The US Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that recent research raises “valid concerns” about the safety of triclosan, which is used so widely in products that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports it is found in the urine of 75% of the population.
Triclosan:
  • Is found in the blood, urine and breast milk of the average person.
  • Is a known hormone disrupter.
  • Is a culprit in creating superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
  • Weakens the heart muscle, impairing contractions and reducing heart function.
  • Weakens skeletal muscles, reducing grip strength
  • Washes into your sewage systems  and pollutes water bodies
On top of all this, ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP OFFERS NO PROVEN BENEFIT OVER REGULAR SOAP!

 

 

 

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A joint project of Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides has created a FACT SHEET on the dangers of triclosan. It contains a summary of nearly 60 studies into the chemical’s impact on health. From the FACT SHEET:

A growing list of household and personal care products are advertised as “antibacterial” because they contain a chemical called triclosan. While the manufacturers of these products want you to think triclosan protects you from harmful bacteria, it turns out it may be doing more harm than good.

See  Triclosan: What the Research Shows  (Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides, undated)

 

The proliferation of triclosan in everyday consumer products is enormous. It is now found in our drinking water, in our rivers, in our bodies. Several other countries, including the members of the European Union, have banned or restricted use of the chemical. Yet we in the US continue to consume and be exposed to an onslaught of triclosan. (Layton, 2010)

 

 

(Source: ww.beyondpesticides.org)
(Source: ww.beyondpesticides.org)
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s name for triclosan is 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol. Triclosan is similar in its uses and mechanism of action to triclocarbon, another dangerous antibacterial chemical used in personal care products. Brand names include Digiclean, Asepso, Prevens, Virx, Derma-Glove, FresHands and Renewal. (Wikipedia, 8/24/2014)

 

 

(Source:  www.medicalnewspk.com)
(Source: www.medicalnewspk.com)

 

 

 

 

HOW TRICLOSAN WORKS

The cells of all organisms, including bacteria, require a cell membrane to survive. The cell membrane is a critical barrier that selectively allows oxygen, nutrients, and wastes to permeate and leave the cell; it is the “edge of life, the boundary that separates the living cell from its nonliving surroundings”. Without a permeable cell membrane, a cell would simply die. For example, wastes would not be transported out of the cell, causing toxins to accumulate and poison the cell. Curiously, it is precisely this function of the cell membrane that Triclosan is engineered to immobilize….

Triclosan stops the fatty acid elongation process by inhibiting a bacterial enzyme. … By stealing active sites from the natural substrate, Triclosan systematically kills bacteria by stopping fatty acid chain growth. This, in turn, stops the growth of the cell membrane and effectively kills the cell. The process is efficient, insidious and almost perfect, and when given the opportunity, Triclosan is extremely successful.

–  S. Angkadjaja, 2012. What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial? Illumin: A review of engineering in everyday life

 

 

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Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste Cinnamon
Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste – Cinnamon

TRICLOSAN-FREE TOOTHPASTES

 Here are some of the triclosan-free toothpastes on the market:
  • Redmond Trading Company’s Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste – Cinnamon
  •  Doterra Toothpaste
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Sensodyne
  • Jason’s Natural Toothpaste
  • Nature’s Gate
  • Desert Essence
  • Crest Toothpastes
  • Waleda

 

Some of these brands contain fluoride and other chemicals of concern. For example, here’s Environmental Working Group’s SKIN DEEP’s analysis of Sensodyne Original Flavor Toothpaste:
 At least it doesn’t contain triclosan.

 

 

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Check the ingredients list on your own toothpaste. Triclosan is listed under Active Ingredients.
I personally also avoid toothpastes containing fluoride, which is a toxin – and the reason why fluoride-containing toothpastes come with a warning not to swallow  it – as on the label above.

 

 

 

 

MANY BACTERIA ARE GOOD FOR US

There is much evidence showing that bacteria are not all dangerous and should not be killed willy nilly. Many strains of  bacteria are in fact necessary for our health. The modern world has developed an unhealthy phobia against germs of all kinds.
Remember the Human Microbiome?  A large part of it resides in our gastro-intestinal tracts. So much so that the Gut Microbiome is often referred to as our second genome. Our guts are home to several pounds of microbes responsible for keeping our immune systems strong so we can have healthy bodies and minds.
In addition to the gut microbiome, the human body also is home to other important microbiomes: On our skin; in our mouths, urogenital tracts, nasal cavities.

 

 

Human Microbiomes
Human Microbiomes

 

In fact, bacteria and other micro-organisms living in and on the human body outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1! And this is a good thing. Without these microbes, our health – perhaps our very existence – would be in serious jeopardy.

 

 

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A nice little animated video from NPR called The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome  (5:28).
The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome - NPR
The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome – NPR

 

 

THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS

The Hygiene Hypothesis states that overly sanitizing our skins and environments is actually doing much harm and is responsible for the steep rise in auto-immune diseases, asthma, eczema and other health problems.
Michael Pollan states it well in his New York Times Magazine article“Some of My Best Friends Are Germs “ – which I highly recommend reading:

Human health should now “be thought of as a collective property of the human-associated microbiota”  ….

Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut. (Pollan, 2013)

(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)
The Hygiene Hypothesis: Our modern obsession with cleanliness is making us and our environment sick. (Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)

 

My recommendation is to be alarmed rather than reassured by products that promise to kill 99.9% of germs. Using these products will deprive you of many microbes necessary for your health – and the health of our planet too.

 

 

THE RIGHT WAY TO WASH YOUR HANDS

In 2005 an advisory panel told the Federal Drug Administration there was no evidence that antibacterial soaps work better than regular soap and water. (Layton, 2010)

 

hand-washing-technique

 

Remember washing your hands with regular soap and warm water before antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers hit the market? Turns out using regular soap and water is actually the best way to protect your health and prevent the spread of infections and communicable illnesses. In case you’ve forgotten how to do it:
  • Wet your hands with warm water.
  • Lather up with regular soap.
  • Rub soapy hands together for at least 15 seconds before rinsing.
  • Dry hands before turning off the faucet.
  • Use a paper towel to turn off the water to avoid germs on the faucet.

 

 

 

 

CHECK FOR TRICLOSAN IN OTHER PRODUCTS

You might also want to check for triclosan in the ingredients list of your other personal care and household cleaning products. It’s bad stuff.
Some of the many products containing triclosan:

 

(Source: drsohm.tumblr.com)
(Source: drsohm.tumblr.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source:  www.redicecreations.com)
(Source: www.redicecreations.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source:  healthverdict.com)
(Source: healthverdict.com)

 

 

THE EWG’S SKIN DEEP WEBSITE AND MOBILE APP

The Environmental Working Group has collected safety data on over 69,000 products. You can either go to their SKIN DEEP website or use their mobile app.

 

Information from EWG's SKIN DEEP project
Sample information from EWG’s SKIN DEEP project’s mobile app that lets you obtain hazard on over 69,000 personal care products by typing in the product’s name or scanning its barcode with a smart phone

 

Why the EWG established the SKIN DEEP project:

The American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them. Through Skin Deep, we put the power of information in consumers’ hands. When you know what’s in the products you bring into your home and how those chemicals may affect your health and the environment, you can make informed purchasing decisions — and help transform the marketplace. At the same time, we advocate responsible corporate and governmental policies to protect the most vulnerable among us.

 

What SKIN DEEP says about triclosan and triclocarban on their website:

Triclosan & Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban), very toxic to the aquatic environment. Often found as contaminants in people due to widespread use of antimicrobial cleaning products. Triclosan disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. American Medical Association and the American Academy of Microbiology say that soap and water serves just as well to prevent spread of infections and reduce bacteria on the skin. Overuse may promote the development of bacterial resistance.

 

 

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REFERENCES

Angkadjaja, S. (2012). What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial?  Illumin: A review of engineering in everyday life. See:  http://illumin.usc.edu/printer/68/what-makes-antibacterial-soap-antibacterial/

Food & Water Watch + Beyond Pesticides. (undated). Triclosan: What the Research Shows. See:  http://www.beyondpesticides.org/antibacterial/triclosan-research-3-09.pdf

Francis, I. (2014). Why you should be worried about the chemical ‘Triclosan’ that’s in your toothpaste.  See:   http://www.thealternative.in/lifestyle/worried-chemical-triclosan-thats-toothpaste/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). The Gut Microbiome – Our Second Genome. AllergiesAndYourCut.com. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/the-gut-microbiome-our-second-genome/

Kaplan, D. (2014). FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns. See:  http://www.healthfreedoms.org/fda-says-studies-on-triclosan-used-in-sanitizers-and-soaps-raise-concerns/

Layton, L. (2010). FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns. The Washington Post. See:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/07/AR2010040704621.html

Mercola, R. (2014). Best-Selling Toothpaste Contains Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/27/triclosan-toothpaste.aspx?e_cid=20140827Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20140827Z1&et_cid=DM54542&et_rid=636597549

NPR. (2013). The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome. Video (5:28). See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvM

Pollan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013.  See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?_r=0

Wikipedia. (8/24/2014). Triclosan.  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triclosan

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Tea Tree Oil

 

 

Tea tree oil is a true miracle of nature — an essential oil, steam-distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which includes a variety of plants native to the southeastern area of Queensland and the northeastern coast of New South Wales in Australia. The oil has a fresh, camphor-like odor and a color ranging from pale yellow to clear.  (Wikipedia, 2014) It contains over 98 active compounds, is natural, green and sustainable.

 

 

Humans have found many topical uses for this miraculous natural substance. Often referred to as a “medicine cabinet in a bottle”, it stimulates the immune system and is effective against bacteria, fungi and viruses.  Although the indigenous Bundjalung of eastern Australia have used it for centuries to treat coughs, colds, sore throats and various skin ailments, science didn’t formally understand the oil’s antimicrobial properties until the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Large-scale production began when commercial tea tree plantations were established in the 1970’s and 1980’s. (One Green Planet, 2012)

 

 

NIFTY USES FOR TEA TREE OIL (Care2, 2014), (Valentine, 2012)
ANTIVIRAL
Its antiviral properties make tea tree oil ideal as a topical treatment of viruses such as herpes, chickenpox, singles.
ANTIBACTERIAL/ANTISEPTIC
Tea tree oil’s antibacterial properties make it ideal for applying topically to prevent infections in cuts, abrasions and burns and also to heal and prevent acne.
For sinus infections, try adding four drops to your steaming pot, put a towel over your head and inhale the tea tree oil infused steam. You could also dab a bit of the oil under each nostril at bedtime.
Mix a few drops with water to make an antibacterial spray for high chairs and car seats.
If you have smelly feet, try rubbing a bit of tea tree oil on the soles of your feet before putting on your shoes.
Tea tree oil has even been shown to be effective in hospital applications for clearing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and as a hand disinfectant to prevent cross-infection with Gram-positive and Gramnegative epidemic organisms. (May, 1999)
ANTIFUNGAL
Take advantage of tea tree oil’s antifungal properties by dabbing it on fungal skin infections such as eczema, athlete’s foot and yeast infections.
 Kill mold with a tea tree oil and water spray.
AROMATHERAPY
Put drops of tea tree oil in an aromatherapy diffuser to treat colds, persistent coughs, acne, toothaches and sunburn.
VAPORIZORS
Add a few drops to the water in a vaporizer to loosen chest congestion.
BATH
Use a few drops in the bath to help prevent body odor or to lessen the symptoms of colds and flu.
SCALP
Mix a few drops with your shampoo to treat dry scalp and dandruff or to destroy head lice.
MUSTINESS
Add a tablespoon of tea tree oil to one cup of water in a spray bottle to freshen up the stale smell in fabrics that can’t be laundered, such as decorative pillows, drapes, upholstery and suitcases.
HOUSEHOLD CLEANING
Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle to use as an all-purpose cleaner.
Combining 14 ounces of water, 1 ounce of Murphy’s oil soap and 10 drops of tea tree oil also makes a good general household cleaner.
Mixing the Murphy’s oil soap solution with kosher salt makes a good bathtub and tile scrub.
Use a few drops in your dishwasher dispenser along with the soap  to keep the machine fresh smelling.
Add a few drops in the washer to leave clothes smelling cleaner.
INSECT REPELLENT
Make an effective insect repellent with 15 drops in a quart of water.
CAMPING
Put a little undiluted tea tree oil on insect bites and blisters.

 

WARNINGS

The general warning is: TEA TREE OIL CAN BE TOXIC IF SWALLOWED. KEEP IT AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PETS .
According to the Mayo Clinic:
“Allergic reactions have been reported with tea tree oil when taken by mouth or used on the skin. Skin reactions ranged from mild contact dermatitis (skin inflammation) to severe blistering rashes.
“Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), to any of its parts, Balsam of Peru, benzoin, colophony (rosin) tinctures, eucalyptol, or to plants that are members of the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family.
 “Tea tree oil is likely safe when applied to the skin in recommended doses and durations in non-allergic people.”
 They go on to list many possible side effects and warnings and discuss its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is the Mayo Clinic’s full list of warnings, dosing information and drug interactions.
 Yet, for the majority of people who are not allergic to it, availing themselves of tea tree oil’s many uses is highly beneficial – including ingesting it to produce a Candida albicans (yeast infection) die off, adding it to neti pots to vanquish sinus infections and using it as a mouthwash.

 

 

REFERENCES

Care2. (2014). 20 Great Uses for Tea Tree Oil. See http://www.care2.com/greenliving/20-great-uses-for-tea-tree-oil.html

May, J. et al. (1999). Time–kill studies of tea tree oils on clinical isolates. Oxford Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 45:5, 639-643. See http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/5/639.full

Mayo Clinic. (2013).  Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). See http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/tea-tree-oil/safety/hrb-20060086

Valentine, J. (2012). Spotlight on Tea Tree Oil: This Stuff Is Amazing! One Green Planet. See http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/spotlight-on-tea-tree-oil-this-stuff-is-amazing/

Wikipedia. (2014). Tea tree oil. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_tree_oil

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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