The Trouble with Triclosan


The Problem:

A widespread fear of bacteria in recent years has led to a whole suite of consumer products marketed as “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial.” Today, you can buy antibacterial soap, cutting boards, pencils, binders, scissors, yoga mats, you name it. One chemical that makes these products antibacterial is triclosan, which manufacturers frequently add to their products to help repel germs. However, triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption, allergies, and thyroid problems. It's also officially registered as a pesticide with the EPA. Concerns about antibiotic resistance have also called into question the role of triclosan in our everyday products.

What you can do:

Beware of soaps, household goods like cutting boards, and even school supplies like pencils claiming to be antimicrobial or antibacterial. Check the label and avoid products that list triclosan or triclocarban in their ingredients. Triclosan is also marketed under a variety of different names such as Microban™ and Biofresh™. Remember that washing your hands the old-fashioned way with plain soap and water is the best way to go.