I have what one might call a split personality when it comes to bacteria. One half of me hates the little critters. There’s no way I would invite salmonella for a play date with my kids. Yet on the other hand lactobacillus is always welcome in our home. Every night before dinner my kids will ravage half a cup of plain yogurt with some extra probiotics. But there is no way I would let my kids come home from anywhere without washing their hands or starting a meal without lathering up. Yup, slightly obsessive. Moving right along…
There are so many products on the market targeted at germaphobe freaks like me. Everything from soap, under arm deodorant, body washes, toothpastes, sanitisers, wipes, cutting boards, sponges, shaving cream, clothes, mattresses and so on. All claiming to be antibacterial, odour-fighting and better for our immunity. Well, I’m not so sure. You see, I’m old school. I don’t believe in toothpaste giving me “12 hour protection”. I don’t care for a deodorant that “keeps me fresh for up to 24 hours”. What I care about is not disrupting the balance in nature. The active ingredient that claims the entire germ fighting properties is known as triclosan or triclocarbon. And here is the dilemma I have with this nasty chemical. Triclosan isn’t bacteria specific. It kills the bad guys and the good guys. It’s disrupting the law of nature. Why are we made to believe that we need to eradicate the bad guys? Surely, by now people realise that what we are in fact doing is making the bad ones even worse. Ugly, even. These bacteria are not dumb. They are clever little critters. They know how to mutate and become stronger. Eventually they will be resistant to triclosan. Just as what is happening with antibiotics. And now, we are doing the same with triclosan. So they become resistant, then what? We create another chemical that will kill the strong ones…only to repeat everything again? No thanks.
What if, we just brushed our teeth with regular toothpaste, and ate food that was natural and low in sugar? What if we didn’t use deodorant at all? What if we didn’t feel the need to scrub our hands with anything but standard soap and water? Well interesting fact, new research has proven that triclosan is no more effective at cleaning hands than standard soap and water.
However my real concern starts here – triclosan and triclobcarbon have been linked to hormonal disruption (specifically infertility), elevated risk of allergic responses (asthma, food allergies) and altered thyroid function. With all the hype on keeping things ‘clean’ we are not allowing our own immunity have a chance at strengthening. That’s not to say I won’t wash my hands when I come home from being out all day. But I have never and will never wash my hands with triclosan.
So far, only one town in the whole world is taking action to ban this nasty substance. In 2015, the governor of Minnesota signed a bill to ensure that triclosan be banned from all consumer products sold. Well I didn’t wait for my government to take action. Four years ago, I threw out everything that contained triclosan in our home. I have eradicated it from my parents and my in-laws home also. Look for triclosan/triclocarbon ingredient next time you purchase your hygiene products – think twice before succumbing to the marketing hype. After all, it’s important to understand that we need the good, the bad but not the ugly.
I'm a lover of fine food, amazing cheese and sharing with people I love.