Monday, February 05, 2007

"The Dirt on Clean'

The title is borrowed from an episode of CBC's Marketplace that examines the use of Triclosan (Wiki), a chemical added to many products for anti-bacterial purposes. It is added to all kinds of products from hand soap to toothpaste. Reading the Wiki I was alarmed that when combined with chlorine it can make chloroform and has a chemical composition similar to dioxins. I think I'll take the germs.

During the Marketplace episode I was also interested that researchers were analysing the impacts of applying sewage sludge to farmland and how persistent Triclosan may be. So I searched a little more and sure enough at Johns Hopkins they found that it does pass through municipal wastewater treatment. I'm not sure where the research is at now but they are looking to see if it passes through the food chain.

Why would this be a problem? I think ingesting an anti-bacterial agent probably won't help your digestion out as we need bacteria in there to help us out. Another reason I can think of is the possibility of additional impact on humans to something that can't break down. Remember Teflon? I also think there are concerns about the impact it has on creating resistant bacteria. With so many questions why do we keep seeing more products with it added?

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