Triclosan, A Chemical Used in Antibacterial Soaps, is Found to Impair Muscle Function
by Joseph Stromberg Smithsonian.com
Take a look at the bottle of antibacterial hand soap in your bathroom. Chances are good that a particular chemical is listed among its ingredients: triclosan.
The antibacterial substance, which was first developed in the 1960s to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals, has since been incorporated into everything from hand soaps to toothpastes to mouthwashes. Manufacturers see it as a marketing bonus, increasing consumer confidence that a particular product kills harmful bacteria. Even some household products—such as kitchen utensils, toys and bedding—include triclosan.
In recent years, though, research has shed light on a number of problems with employing triclosan so widely. Studies have shown that the chemical can disrupt the endocrine systems of several different animals, binding to receptor sites in the body, which prevents the thyroid hormone from functioning normally. Additionally, triclosan penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream more easily than previously thought, and has turned up everywhere from aquatic environments to human breast milk in troubling quantities.