Manataka American Indian Council



Antibacterial Products May Be Harmful

Submitted by Liora Leah, Manataka Correspondent




Antibacterial household products have proliferated in the past seven years. Scientists are concerned they may be harmful to human and environmental health.


More than 700 antibacterial products such as soaps, towels, sponges, cutting boards, cleansers,  toothbrushes, dishwashing detergents, hand lotions, and other household goods that claim to kill bacteria and fungi are now a $1 billion-a-year industry.  These products may be harming human health and the environment.


Triclosan, a popular microbe-icide, can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform, which can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Some studies show that triclosan, exposed to sunlight after washing into streams and rivers through treated human waste water, can break down to a form of dioxin harmful to animals and plantlife. Dioxins are chemical contaminants that, in laboratory animals, are found to be highly toxic, causing cancer and altering reproductive, developmental and immune function.


Some scientists and physicians are concerned that widespread use of antibacterial agents will kill weak bacteria and lead to superstrong mutant strains resistant to antibiotics. They also may negatively affect the normal response of the immune system, leading to a greater chance of allergies in children.


The U.S. EPA is studying the antibacterial-dioxin link, but an industry scientist says the amount of triclosan that could wash out of a treated product is "infinitesimal," and that a number of studies have shown that using antimicrobials doesn't create resistant strains. Some environmental scientists, however, point out that no relevant long-term studies have been conducted.


Australian microbiologist Dr John Turnidge  states that "The sale of these antibacterial soaps and detergents preys on people's fears of bacteria. They're really not necessary since soaps and detergents help reduce the risk from bacteria anyway...It's really a mild kind of fraud. There's no proven benefits, and all the available evidence suggests it could be detrimental".


Antibacterial Products May Worsen Problem Of Resistant Bacteria:
CDC Report--Antibacterial Household Products: Cause for Concern:
Antibacterial products potentially harmful:
Antibacterial Pollution:

What is Dioxin? 


Pesticide Does Not Belong in Personal Care Products
What is triclosanóa pesticide that acts like a hormone, potentially damaging the immune system and possibly causing canceródoing in hundreds of personal care products, especially anti-bacterial products? Help ban all non-medical uses of triclosan, one of the most frequently found contaminants in water, aquatic life and people.

The Breast Cancer Fund:




Liora Leah



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