Like most people today, I’ve been buying products unconsciously since I found a quarter on the ground when I was 6 and ran to my nearest 7-11 for a Heath toffee bar. I don’t even remember how I knew to buy THAT candy bar, something inside of me told me that I had to have it. That consumer unconsciousness continued to grow as I grew—extending from the food I bought, to house cleaning products, to personal care products like antibacterial soaps, skincare, and toothpaste. Little did I know that a potentially harmful ingredient called triclosan was lurking in them ready to wreak havoc on my endocrine system and potentially setting me up for cancer according to Breastcancerfund.com.
When introduced to the market in 1972, triclosan was confined to hospital and health care settings. Doctors used it to “scrub in” for surgery. In the 1990s the scare of bacteria caused triclosan to explode onto the market place in hundreds of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products.
Healthy in Theory
While on the surface antibacterial products may seem like a good idea, they’re not. Triclosan, has been found to disrupt the endocrine system and adversely affect the thyroid. Studies show that it can act as estrogen and stimulate the growth of human breast cells. They don’t put that on the label, do they?
When I discovered at the height of my career, I had developed leaky gut, depression, chronic fatigue, panic attacks, sleeplessness, weight gain, and a hypothyroid condition with large nodules on my thyroid gland, I was shocked! I thought I was healthy. Very healthy!!
I didn’t eat junk food. Gave up my precious diet coke several years ago. Ate gluten-free and sugar-free for several years. And I worked out 6 days a week like I thought I should. There had to be something else at the base of my health issues.
Yes, these symptoms could run in my family but I wasn’t going to let genetics dictate the quality of my life like many so many women in my family before me. It had to be something else.
This health wake up call lead to me to look at everything I put on my skin, in my house, and every thing that crossed my lips. That when I discovered nasty ‘ole triclosan in my toothpaste. In my toothpaste!! A toothpaste I specifically bought because it was better at getting rid of bad stuff. Little did I know it WAS the bad stuff.
On the Lookout for Triclosan
Recently the Food and Drug Administration banned triclosan from antibacterial soaps, as but they left it in Colgate Total. You can see why in this NY Times article.
I’m sure you can read between the lines as I did that there was just too much money in this product for Colgate Palmolive the company who makes it. Money from unsuspecting people like me who think they are doing a good thing for their health by using it.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to get to an age where all I do is talk about all the things that are wrong with me and all the drugs I’m taking to counteract them and continue to be unconscious with the candy bars, soaps, and toothpastes that I use.
While the FDA ban is recent, it may take years before it’s removed from the products that you use. Here is a list of brand name products that use triclosan thanks to a great site Beyond Pesticides.
Another informative site I turn to for information about safe and not so safe products is Environmental Working Group. I use their free handy mobile phone app often to check all products that I buy. Check out their free app here.
Thanks to a commitment to my health and wellbeing, I guess you can say that I’m unconscious no more. And it’s a great thing.