In a groundbreaking move that will hopefully set a precedent for the rest of the nation, Minnesota has banned the use and commerce of the chemical triclosan in cleaning products.
This chemical, which is featured in three quarters of all soaps, deodorants and toothpastes in the US, has been linked to potentially serious health and environmental effects.
Triclosan was first put on the market in the late 1960s as a pesticide. Today, it is still used for pesticide applications, as well as in the manufacture of plastics and a number of other industrial processes. It is also in most products labeled “antibacterial,” which means many people wash their hands and faces with it several times a day.
This ubiquitous chemical has been linked to several consequences to human health, including hormonal disruption and allergies. According to leading health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, it has also been found to significantly inhibit the function of cardiac and skeletal muscle, at doses equivalent to normal daily use. Furthermore, triclosan has been shown to accumulate in lake sediment, making it a growing environmental concern, as it is so frequently used.
If these effects weren’t bad enough, many scientists fear that the use of antibacterial products containing triclosan is contributing to our world’s growing epidemic of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Surprisingly, there is no evidence that antibacterial soap products kill everyday germs any more effectively than soap and water.
Minnesota’s new law, signed by Governor Mark Dayton, is the first such ban in the United States. While it will not go into effect until 2017, supporters hope that the use of triclosan in Minnesota will be phased out before then. They also hope that other states take notice and follow suit.
According to Minnesota senator John Mary, one of the bill’s sponsors, “while this is an effort to ban triclosan from one of the 50 states, I think it will have a greater impact than that.”
Until that impact is seen beyond Minnesota state lines, consumers should be careful when buying personal care products, avoiding antibacterial detergents and checking labels for triclosan.
However, as a multitude of other chemicals exist in these products, using organic products, or making your own personal care concoctions at home, is the safest and healthiest choice.
-The Alternative Daily