Are cancer-causing chemicals lurking in your toothpaste and soaps?


By pH health care professionals

A chemical that has been linked to cancer cell growth is being used by millions of Americans in toothpaste every day. It’s called triclosan, and it is an FDA-approved antibacterial ingredient. But how much do you really have to worry?

What is triclosan?

Triclosan is a broad-spectrum antibacterial antifungal agent that is added to many cosmetics and personal care products, including some toothpastes, soaps and cosmetics. Triclosan in toothpaste has been proven to prevent gingivitis (gum disease) and it’s often incorporated for its antibacterial effects.

However, triclosan’s widespread use in consumer products, and the fact that is has been detected in breast milk, urine and serum, have raised health concerns.

What are the health concerns?

Recent evidence suggests that triclosan may play a role in cancer development, perhaps because of its ability to mimic estrogen or ability to inhibit fatty acid synthesis. Recently, however, concern has been raised over triclosan’s potential for endocrine disruption, which can throw your hormones for a loop.

Animal studies have shown this chemical can interfere with hormones critical for normal development and function of the brain and reproductive system. Triclosan has been associated with lower levels of thyroid hormone and testosterone, which could result in altered behavior, learning disabilities, or infertility. Similar antibacterial triclocarban has been shown to artificially amplify the effects of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, which could promote the growth of breast and prostate cancer.

Furthermore, laboratory studies suggest that triclosan and triclocarban may be contributing to antibiotic resistance in bacteria known to cause human infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls antibiotic resistance one of the most pressing health issues facing the United States. Infections caused by bacteria with resistance to at least one antibiotic have been estimated to kill more than 60,000 hospitalized patients each year.

Play it safe

  •          Avoid anything labeled "antibacterial" or "antimicrobial" that contains triclosan or triclocarban, such as soaps, gels, cleansers, toothpaste, cosmetics and other personal care products. Choose non-toxic products.
  •          Avoid other "antibacterial" or "antimicrobial" items such as cutting boards, towels, yoga mats, shoes, clothing and bedding.
  •          Use regular soap and hot water to clean effectively. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when you don’t have access to running water.

Be proactive. Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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