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Minnesota Issues Ban on Antibacterial Ingredient

02 January 2017

Are you the type to tote around antibacterial gels, hand wipes, creams, and sprays, and only buy the most severe soaps claiming to kill every virus and bacteria known to modern man? If so, particularly if you live in Minnesota, you may want to invest in something else to wash yourself with.

Minnesota is the first state to ban the use of triclosan, with a new law which went into effect Jan. 1, 2017. Triclosan is a chemical found in many of these antibacterial products and had been found to be harmful to humans, despite their best intentions of protecting themselves from germs.

Triclosan is, "an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in consumer products, including toothpaste, soaps, detergents, toys, and surgical cleaning treatments. Its efficacy as an antimicrobial agent, the risk of antimicrobial resistance, and its possible role in disrupted hormonal development remain controversial."

As per the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), products containing triclosan may "actually be doing more harm than good and using antibacterial soaps are no more effective than using regular soap and water."

The NRDC claims that some dangers include:

  • Hormone disruptions affecting the immune and reproductive system
  • Thyroid, testosterone, and estrogen regulation
  • Impaired learning and memory
  • Exacerbation of allergies
  • Weakened muscle function
  • Fetal developmental issues
  • Antibacterial resistance

Due to these and other findings, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill legalizing the ban of products containing the controversial chemical. The only exceptions to this ban are products which have been approved by the FDA.

These findings are something to consider regardless if you live in Minnesota or someplace else. If you're not convinced, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study and found triclosan present in the urine of 75% of people tested. Rather than risk all the dangers listed above, why not try the route of a good old scrubbing with some soap and water? In the long run, you may be protecting yourself more effectively

For more facts about triclosan, see the EPA's information on the chemical and make your own judgement.

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