More dirty news to report about the clean industry.
According to a report in Environmental Science and Technology, triclosan, an ingredient used widely as an antibiotic and preservative in personal care and cleaning products for the last 45 years, acts as an endocrine disruptor. This chemical amplifies the natural effects of hormones and exacerbates the effects of testosterone.
It can be found in lots of things you probably assume are safe lotions and wipes and soaps but should be avoided.
A study in the American Journal of Infection Control from 2001 found triclosan, or its cousin triclocarban in 76% of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps for sale on the market. The study also found very little benefit of triclosan.
A report in the November 29 issue of Endocrinology evaluated triclocarban and found it to represent a new category of endocrine-disrupting substance. In the study, researchers from the University of California - Davis and Yale University exposed human cells and live rats to either triclocarban or one of a few other polychlorinated diphenyl urea compounds, either alone or with testosterone, at levels similar to those that can occur in people.
From the study:
Triclocarban amplified the effects of testosterone, which is present in men, women, and children. In vitro tests with human cells showed that the interaction of triclocarban and testosterone was synergistic, including a signaling increase of 45% in one test. In rats, the combination showed additive effects of increased mass in several accessory sex organs.
According to the study, about 1 million pounds of triclocarban are produced for the U.S. market every year. And although not much is known about the health effects of exposure to the antibacterial compound, study coauthor Bill Lasley says the new evidence suggests that triclocarban and other structurally similar substances may be playing a role in a wide range of reproductive and developmental disorders.
What can be done?
E-mail Wal Mart (or write a letter to the manager of whatever local stores you frequent). Ask that they add triclosan and triclocarban to the list of hazardous chemicals addressed under its Business Sustainability plan.
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