What if I told you that the soap you are using is dangerous. Yes – that soap on your kitchen counter – the one you are using to wash your hands as you cook dinner for your family, is harmful to your health. If you’re like me, you are washing your hands with that soap over and over again as you cook “healthy” food for your kids. Not to mention that you are using it on your dinner plates – right before you put your child’s food on those plates – I have even seen people use the very same soap to wash their vegetables…
Now, imagine this. With everything that we all know is dangerous on the market – baby powder causing ovarian cancer, petroleum and other carcinogens in many of our beauty products, DEET in our bug spray – the FDA has chosen that soap – the one on your kitchen counter to ban from the market because it is TOO DANGEROUS for you to be using in your home!
Last Friday, the FDA released a landmark decision saying, “We have no scientific evidence that [antibacterial soaps] are any better than plain soap and water.” In addition, the FDA went a step further saying they’re dangerous as well. “[Antibacterial soaps] pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.” So as of September 6, 2017, nineteen chemicals used in antibacterial soaps will no longer be found in over-the-counter hand washes and bar soaps. Studies show that one such banned chemical, triclosan, has been found in freshwater streams, dolphin’s blood, and even human milk.
The companies who make these soaps (about 40% of all liquid and bar soap on the market) now have one year to either get these chemicals out of their products or get these products off the shelves.
As noted in the FDA’s announcement, the chemicals subject to the ban are known to disrupt hormone cycles, weaken our ability to fight off bacteria and can cause muscle weakness. Triclosan and triclocarban are the most widely chemicals used in the antibacterial soaps and are already being substituted out by companies so the products can stay on the market.
Even though those associated with the American Cleaning Institute claim that washing your hands with an antiseptic soap can help reduce the risk of infection beyond the protection provided by washing with non-antibacterial soap and water, the FDA states that the soap manufacturers have been unable to provide any data demonstrating that is true. Therefore, there is clearly no reason to expose yourself and your family to chemicals which have known risks of harm. Further, there is no reason for these products to be in our environment in mass – causing widespread exposure through our ground water and even making their way into our bloodstream.
Hopefully, this is just the first in a long list of chemicals that will be pulled from the market in the United States. There are definitely forces at work trying desperately to get the FDA to pull other dangerous chemicals from the products we use everyday, including known teratogens (substances that cause birth defects) carcinogens (substances linked to causing cancer) and estrogen and hormone altering chemicals off the market and out of the products we use every day.
In the meantime, remember that everything you put on your skin makes its way into your bloodstream, and is excreted by your body in your sweat, urine, tears and even in your milk. What you put on your skin is makes its way into your body just as much as the food you put into your mouth. Read the labels. Know the contents. Protect yourself and your family.