The world is filled with harmful germs. If we allowed them to infect us, it would surely lead to illness. While this usually means getting a cold or the flu, it is still something we would rather avoid. Thankfully, the introduction of antimicrobial products in recent years has not only promised to mitigate germ exposure, but also our fears of contracting illnesses.
Chemicals with antimicrobial properties can be found in soaps, toiletries, toys, and even yoga mats. But these industrial substances designed to keep us safe have been raising serious concerns for researchers and scientists alike.
Health and environment concerns regarding the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban are widespread, gaining the attention of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals around the globe.
“Triclosan is a case study of the many things that can go wrong when formulating consumer products. To start out with, it’s a chemical that contains dioxin—a potent toxic carcinogen. When you use the chemical, it is mostly ineffective in protecting from germs and instead actually may increase microbial risks by producing bacteria that are cross-resistant to antibiotics your doctor prescribes to save lives. It increases susceptibility to allergies. When released into water or soil, it persists for long periods of time and forms additional dioxins. When it is burned, it produces the most toxic forms of dioxin known.”
Triclocarban, another one of these antimicrobial compounds, contains other potent cancer-causing chemicals called chloroanilines.
What is most disturbing is that these supposed antimicrobial chemicals added to our products provide no additional health benefits when compared to using soap and water for handwashing.