Chemicals in antibacterial soaps may weaken the strength with which your heart beats and skeletal muscles contract.
This is the conclusion of the Federal Drug and Administration, which recently banned the sale of products containing one or more of 19 antibacterial chemicals. Particular attention has been given to the chemicals triclosan, used in liquid products, and triclocarbon, found in solid products. Triclosan and triclocarbon are found in about 40% of liquid and bar soaps, in addition to mouthwash, laundry detergent, toothpaste, baby pacifiers, and other household products. In fact, these two chemicals are so prevalent that they are found in the urine of three-quarters of the American public.
Triclosan alone has been shown to cause muscle weakness and disrupt hormone and immune function in the body. Muscle weakness is caused by altering the way the muscle fibers interact, impairing muscle contraction. This reduces the force with which the heart beats as well as the action of skeletal muscles in our arms and legs.
Studies have demonstrated a 20% decrease in heart function in mice within 20 min of exposure to triclosan. In minnows, one week of triclosan exposure caused a large decrease in swimming speed. Similar results were found in human muscle tissues. This evidence strongly suggests similar negative effects in humans. The amounts of triclosan used in these experiments are comparable to what humans would encounter in daily life.
Triclosan, triclocarbon, and other antibacterial chemicals are all around us, but there are ways to limit your exposure.
Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Wash your hands with regular, non-antibacterial soap
- Regular soap and water have been shown to be as effective as antibacterial soaps
- Read the labels on soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, baby pacifiers, and all household products
- Dispose of products that contain triclosan or triclocarbon
- Avoid using and buying products with triclosan or triclocarbon
- Replace current products with organic or natural products
- Read ingredient labels on all products before purchase
- Research which products and companies are most committed to the safety of their consumers
- Stay informed of current research into the safety of chemicals found in household products
Knowledge is our best defense against harmful chemicals. Make sure to stay informed of current research into the safety of chemicals found in household products and over the counter drugs and supplements.
- Learn more about F.D.A. Bans Sale of Many Antibacterial Soaps, Saying Risks Outweigh Benefits
- Find out more about How Antibacterial Soap Could Harm Your Heart and Muscles
- Discover How the Heart Works
- Subscribe to the Living with Heart Disease Patient Blog