When we buy utility products we are driven by advertisements, marketing dynamics, and consumerism gimmicks. By utility product, I am referring to toiletries, cosmetics, and personal care quotidian. The products we use in our day-to-day life are loaded with chemicals components, incapacitating agents, parabens, synthetic admixtures and more. One component which is harmful yet found in the descriptive labels of our personal products is triclosan. Triclosan is colored under different names. Hence it is important to know the other terminology of Triclosan as well. The alternative name for Triclosan is Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum, Irgasan, Irgacare, Mircoban, Viv-20, ultra-fresh and a sister drug called Triclocarban. Another fact to note is that fabric softeners write Biofresh or Amicor instead of Triclosan. Thus, capture all these terms in your hippocampus as Triclosan affects your health. Please also ensure to read the ingredients before buying a utility product. The information you shall be reading furthermore will change your approach towards buying any utility product.

Triclosan containing utility products can be broken into FOUR categories

  • Personal Care – soap, detergent, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, creams and so on.
  • Household Items- trash bags, fabrics, kitchen towel, adhesives, mats cushions, furniture and so forth.
  • Heath Care- Antiseptic liquid, hand scrubs, implantable medical devices, etc.
  • Sports Items- toys, gloves, rackets, and other items.

Triclosan comes wrapped with promises enunciating that it’s an antibacterial friend. But the reality understood is hyperbole. I shall be taking you through the understanding of Triclosan, its effects, alternative names, preventive measures, suggestive components, measures to protect from triclosan effects and Central Drug Standard Control Organization.

TRICLOSAN OVERVIEW

Triclosan was first used in the hospice setting for effective sterilization. Triclosan was created by a Swiss pharmaceutical company named Ciba-Geigy back in 1964. The main purpose of Triclosan was to kill the bacteria growing within the body and on the surface of the skin. In the hospital setting, the use of Triclosan was good and aided the benefit of keeping the types of equipment free of germs. Triclosan belongs to a drug called ‘ionized’ which is a prime component to cure tuberculosis. So for sure, Triclosan does have a positive side as it is the best germ-killing agent but anything overused harms. Triclosan also started being overused in household and personal care items.

 Triclosan is a white crystalline powder with antimicrobial properties found crammed in cosmetics, soaps, sprays, foot creams & other creams, toothpaste, mouthwashes, kitchenware, clothes, fabric softeners, broom. Triclosan is also found in the dish rack, dishpans, sink mats, trash bags, and kitchen sponge/towels/wipes. Triclosan is found in toys, crib mattresses, paints which are more prone to mold and mildew contaminations. The antimicrobial properties in the triclosan act upon the enzyme called ‘enoyl-acyl’. ‘Enoyl-acyl’ is protein reductases who help the bacteria and fungus to thrive. This fungus breeds in the cell walls of a human and stays in the system for a long time to come. Read the sub-point ‘health effects’ under ‘The effects of Triclosan’ for more depth. Triclosan is found in excessive quantities in all types of utility products.

THE EFFECTS OF TRICLOSAN

  • Environmental effects

Triclosan is toxic to the aquatic world and unfortunately, large quantities go into their habitat through the industrial waste and sewages from our homes. The sea edible breeds too consume the triclosan which enters the human system again. The ecosystem at its play, you see. The coral life is getting depleted. The water used in irrigation is ingesting with chemicals into our plant’s life cycle as well. Also, the soil properties get affected through biodegradation. The sludge and drainage pipelines have zero oxygen and the water in it is called anaerobic or biosolid triclosan product. Triclosan survives and manages to reduce its effect on wastewater treatment plants in an aerobic setting. In an anaerobic setting, it takes up to a month for triclosan to lose its effect and a week for aerobic. Aerobic water setting is a place where direct sunlight is reachable. Hence triclosan does lose its effect through the help of our friendly sun, but scientifically nothing has been proved as actuality.

  • Health effects

The chemicals present in Tricolocan are slowly making antibiotics less effective on humans due to humans getting immune to bacteria. Triclosan may also disrupt the hormonal cycle and weakening the immune system. Reproductive complications, asthma, and thyroid gland issues are effects of triclosan in the cell membrane. For a long time to come to Triclosan bio-accumulates in our cell membrane causing allergies and adverse skin cancers. This process is called lipophilic. Triclosan also affects the muscles and skeleton structure of the human body in the long run. Some facts to know are that triclosan gets converted into glucuronide and sulfate conjugates finding its way out through the excretion system.  Triclosan is found in breast milk and blood plasma as well. One can imagine the level of absorption of triclosan into our endocrine system. Overall, it’s not that triclosan is deadly, but it must be avoided as much as possible in the manufacturing understanding.

Some suggestive components that can be recommended to manufactures are:

  1. Benzalkonium Chloride
  2. Benzethonium Chloride
  3. Chloroxylenol

PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO UNDERTAKE TO REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF TRICLOSAN

  1. Opt for Triclosan free products
  2. Wash your children toys every frequently
  3. Use hand-wash regularly. ( of course Triclosan free)
  4. Be updated on Food and Drug Administration researches

Triclosan belongs to a drug called ‘ionized’ which is a prime component to cure tuberculosis. Hence it is not that triclosan is fatal. My purpose in sharing this information was firstly for general knowledge, secondly to make you think about why and how of what to buy. Thirdly, exhort this knowledge with others. 

Central Drug Standard Control Organization (C.D.S.C.O) works closely with the Food and Drug Administrator (F.D.A). Please find out for yourself which of your utility products have triclosan. One last fuel for thought, Since December 2017, F.D.A has banned the use of triclosan in the U.S.A. When is the Central Drug Standard Control Organization walking on that path? We don’t know but let us all ensure we remain aware, watchful on what our utility product entails.

By Zahra Shakir. Zahra is a social worker and an educator who works with government schools and writes part-time. She is currently interning with Mistpoffer®

References:

http://toxicslink.org/docs/Triclosan.pdf

https://www.thespruce.com/triclosan-how-its-used-avoid-it-1707033

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/triclosan-is-a-shady-chemical-125502https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/academic-and-educational-journals/triclosan

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