If you've ever washed your hands with anti-bacterial soap, there's a good chance you were rubbing yourself down with a chemical called triclosan—a chemical that's been proven to be harmful in humans in recent years. Now, Minnesota has become the first state to officially ban it. And yours could be next.
The Minnesota ban, which doesn't actually go into effect until January 1, 2017, applies to pretty much any retail consumer hygiene products that includes triclosan as an active ingredient—including about 75 percent of anti-bacterial soaps.
The FDA claims there's no evidence that triclosan soap is any more effective at washing away germs than non-antibacterial soap and water. What's more, according to recent studies, triclosan can "disrupt hormones critical for reproduction and development, at least in lab animals, and contribute to the development of resistant bacteria." So not only is this chemical not doing you any real good, it could actually be harming you, too.
Minnesota may be the first to pass an overarching ban, but there's a good chance other states will follow suit; triclosan is even getting some heavier regulations nation-wide. Just this past December, the FDA ruled that anti-bacterial soap manufactures would have to prove that their soaps are not only safe, but also more effective than plain soap or water. Which sounds like something they probably should have been doing all along. [AP]
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