Perhaps you’ve seen (or yourself own) an antibacterial product – a facewash, deodorant or even a keychain? Have you ever wondered about the effectiveness of these products, or their impact on people, plants and animals?
Two years ago, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics supporters sent Walmart thousands of e-mails asking the retail giant to help stem the demand for products that contain triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical common in personal care products and cleaning products. (A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found triclosan in 76 percent of liquid soaps and 29 percent of bar soaps on the market.)
Well, it's time to remind Walmart that it *still* has the mega-retailer power to address hazardous chemicals in consumer products. Use our quick form below to ask Walmart to demand triclosan-free merchandise from its suppliers.
(1) It's bad for health.
Research shows that triclosan disrupts hormones, builds up in body fat and may interfere with other important hormonal and cell signals. Exposure to hormone-disruptors, especially at critical windows of development, can lead to early puberty, serious reproductive issues and breast cancer. Triclosan's hormone-disrupting behavior could also be responsible for harming aquatic wildlife, since this chemical is washed into our waterways.
(2) It's in our bodies, in soil and in wildlife.
Like so many other chemicals in household items, triclosan (and the similar chemical triclocarban) isn’t staying put: it has been found in our bodies  and in the breast milk of women using personal care products that contain the chemical. Triclosan has been found in water downstream from wastewater treatment facilities (which means it isn’t being totally removed from wastewater) and in the sludge applied to fields as a fertilizer. It has also been found in dolphins, earthworms and frogs, and it may be disrupting their development. Triclosan may also break down into other harmful chemicals like dioxins.
(3) It isn’t more effective than regular soap, but it could lead to bacteria resistance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found no evidence that antibacterial soap is more beneficial than good old soap and water in reducing bacteria or the rate of disease. Triclosan does not destroy viruses, which cause colds and the flu. Scientists are concerned, however, that the widespread use of triclosan may lead to triclosan-resistant bacteria. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association has asked its federal government to ban it from consumer products and the American Medical Association has recommended avoiding antimicrobial agents because of resistance concerns.
(4) Pesticides probably shouldn’t be on our skin or in our mouths.
Triclosan is registered as a pesticide at the EPA, but it's probably in your hand soap and might be in your toothpaste because cosmetics companies aren't barred by the FDA from using ingredients linked to harm or that have never been assessed for adverse health effects. As our friend Rick Smith, author of Slow Death By Rubber Duck, said in the chapter, "Germophobia," “I’m no chemophobe. I’m downright chemophilic in some circumstances. What I object to are the chemicals like triclosan that aren’t necessary, are possibly dangerous, and are foisted on us every day without our knowledge or consent.”