You may not recognize the name right off the bat, but a chemical in every day products has been making waves in the news recently. Triclosan, the ingredient added to products like toothpaste and antibacterial soap has been under fire for everything from causing liver and kidney damage to being the root cause of allergy development in children. In January, the EPA was hounded by over 80 environmental and health organizations to ban its use since its only official registration is as a pesticide due to its chemical makeup and toxicity. Now triclosan is making waves in water itself, seeping from sewage treatment facilities, washing down drains, and subsequently accumulating in much of the fresh water fish population.
Anaheim, CA recently hosted a national meeting of the American Chemical Society, and a major focal point was environmental danger from triclosan and triclocarban that has ended up in our fresh waters. Recent findings have shown that as fish swim in these waters, the accumulate large amounts of these chemicals. Their bodies cannot break down and eliminate chemicals like these, so it can quickly build up to toxic degrees. The human body generally breaks these down and turns them into other substances which can be passed and eliminated. However, for all the questions that arise from this issue, every answer only spawns more questions.
Research from multiple sources including the University of Minnesota, Pace Analytical, and Virginia Tech University has documented that when triclocarbans are exposed to sunlight they create dioxins, otherwise known as highly toxic substances. The World Health Organization has previously warned that dioxin exposure can damage the immune system and reproductive system, cause developmental problems, and possibly cause cancer. The real concern now is that not only are we exposed to chemicals like this in our every day hygiene products, but since theyre accumulating in the environment we may very well be hit by them both coming and going.
American Chemical Society