Antibacterial soap exposes health workers to high triclosan levels

Washington: Handwashing with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan, a widely-used chemical currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration, according to a study led by researchers from UC San Francisco.

Triclosan, a synthetic antibacterial agent, is found in thousands of consumer products, including soaps, cosmetics, acne creams and some brands of toothpaste. The FDA is reviewing its safety based on a growing body of research indicating that it can interfere with the action of hormones, potentially causing developmental problems in foetuses and newborns, among other health concerns.

In the current study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers analysed urine samples from two groups of 38 doctors and nurses – three fourths of them women – at two hospitals, identified as Hospital 1 and Hospital 2. Hospital 1 used an antibacterial soap containing 0.3 per cent triclosan, while Hospital 2 used plain soap and water.

For people who want to replace antibacterial products in their home with something safer, said Blanc, “just plain soap and water is a pretty good alternative.”[Source]

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