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Q: Where Am I Exposed?

Triclosan is a synthetic broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent which is used in hundreds of products such as toothpaste, antibacterial soaps, cosmetics, fabrics, deodorants, and plastics. Triclosan is listed as “could be” and “suspected to be” contaminated with dioxins. This chemical is very stable over long periods of time and has been shown to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and even in human breast milk. Triclosan in waterways is readily available for absorption and bioaccumulation by aquatic organisms in the environment.

For more information, visit the Beyond Pesticides fact sheet on triclosan here.

Q: What Can I Do?

  • Use soap and water to keep your hands clean, and wash hands frequently and thoroughly;
  • Dry hands with a clean towel to help brush off any germs that did not get washed down the drain;
  • Wash surfaces that come in contact with food with a detergent and water;
  • Wash children’s hands and toys regularly to prevent infection;
  • Read all ingredients when buying products to avoid triclosan;
  • Use essential oils that have antimicrobial properties, such as Australian tea tree oil, grapefruit seed
    extract, and pine oil as substitutes for antimicrobial soaps.

Adapted from the Practice Prevention Columns on the Collaborative on Health and the Environment website, and other sources as indicated.