Triclosan + tap water = chloroform
More hazards of antibacterial products

UPdate Fall 2008

Danger: Creates chloroform when mixed with tap water.

If consumers of antibacterial products saw this warning on the label of their anti-bacterial soap, shaving cream, toothpaste or cleaning liquids, or heard it in a TV ad, it is unlikely that so many anti-bacterial products would find their way into our homes. But labels and advertisements don’t tell consumers all they need to know to protect their health.

Research into Triclosan, the most common anti-bacterial chemical used in consumer products, documented that Triclosan reacts with chlorine in tap water to form significant quantities of chloroform. Chloroform is classified as a probable human carcinogen.

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic and State University estimate that under some conditions the use of triclosan can increase a person’s annual exposure to chloroform by as much as 40% above background levels in tap water. Research results from two studies were published in 2005 and 2007.

So what does a person do if they are concerned about germs? Regular soap and water does just as good a job as antibacterial products – without the risks, according to University of Michigan Department of Public Health professor Dr. Allison Aiello. Vinegar and water is also highly effective in killing germs.

UPdate, Fall 2008, Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia

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