I read an interesting article the other day which has me rethinking the use of antibacterial soaps. According to studies, antibacterial soaps do not clean any better than ordinary soap and water. An active chemical ingredient called triclosan can have a strong impact on our environment in many ways. Triclosan is added to approximately 75 percent of soaps and other consumer products as an antibacterial agent. It breaks down in water and sunlight into forms of dioxin. University of Minnesota researchers have found dioxins derived from triclosan in Mississippi River sediments. (Regular soaps that do not purport to be antibacterial do not have triclosan).
One of the problems with triclosan is it damages genes in bacteria which creates immune strains of bacteria. The other potential danger is the effect on our watersheds and the living things which use them-- that includes us. The chemical structure of triclosan looks very much like thyroid hormone. In studies with tadpoles by Caren Helbing of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, they found that triclosan can disrupt thyroid function in frogs and hence their development. This could have implications for human development.
I want to mention that my writing here is not exhaustive and was gathered from several sources. There is much more to this story so I encourage anyone wanting more info to seek it on your own. This is simply food for thought. No doubt we and our children are exposed to an exorbitant number of chemicals everyday. Use caution. You may go to Living on Earth: http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=06-P13-00044&segmentID=1 as well as other sites--just Google them.