Rof Halden, associate professor of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has been studying antibacterial chemicals found in handwash, soaps, toys, clothing and plastics and their effect on human health and the environment. He found that antimicrobial products are unsafe for the environment and humans, and that they may be causing more harm than good, so their use could have dire consequences.
According to Harden, antibacterial chemical triclosan, which made its debut in commercial hand soaps in the 1980′s, is a potent germ killer. Since 2004, levels of triclosan in humans have increased by an average of 50 percent, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Antimicrobial chemicals are present in household dust, where they may act as allergens, and levels of triclosan are detectable in 97 percent of U.S women’s breast milk. Big problem is that they are related to birth defects, weakened immunity and even cancer.
Triclosan and triclocarban are also present in 60% of all rivers and streams nationwide. Analysis of lake sediments is showing a steady increase in triclosan since the 1960s.
Triclosan and triclocarban have been linked to endocrine disruption, with potential adverse impacts on sexual and neurological development. The accumulation of triclosan and triclocarban in the environment is exerting selective pressure on microorganisms exposed to them, thereby increasing the likelihood that a super-bug, resistant to the very antimicrobials developed to kill them, will emerge-with potentially dire consequences for human health.