Associate professor Rolf Halden, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has been studying the effect of triclosan and triclocarban –antibacterial chemicals found in soaps, cosmetics, toys, plastics and clothing – on human health and the environment. According to Halden who is a biologist and engineer, the chemicals are unsafe for humans and the environment, and their use could have dire consequences. Halden also says they don’t work, as does the FDA, yet antibacterial products remain a billion dollar a year industry.
Both of the chemicals are widely incorporated into everyday products ranging from soap, toothbrushes, acne products, and deodorant, shaving gel and “natural” cosmetics. According to Harden, triclosan is a potent germ killer that made its debut in commercial hand soaps in the 1980’s. Since 2004, levels of triclosan in humans have increased by an average of 50 percent per estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and are showing up in 97 percent of women’s breast milk. The problem is they have been strongly linked to birth defects, weakened immunity and even cancer.