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article imageThe dirty and dangerous side of soap and other products we use

By Holly L. Walters     Nov 19, 2014 in Health
Many of the personal care products and dietary supplements we use frequently have chemicals and other substances that are extremely toxic after long-term exposure.
The ones that have come under fire recently is triclosan and a toxic group of pollutants known as excipients.
The Truth About Triclosan
Triclosan is a toxic chemical that recently came under scrutiny by the FDA because of its widespread use and studies that link it to hormone disruptions and impaired muscle contractions. The chemical is extremely hard to avoid because it’s used as an antimicrobial that is commonly found in personal hygiene products such as soap and shampoo.
In a study that was published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reported additional serious consequences after long-term exposure to Triclosan. The study demonstrated that the chemical causes cancer and liver fibrosis in an experiment that involved laboratory mice.
In the experiment, the mice were exposed to the chemical for six months — this is about 18 human years to put it in perspective. The mice exposed during the study were found to be more susceptible to chemically-caused tumors of the liver, and those tumors were found to be bigger and occurred more frequently than the mice that were not exposed to it.
The researchers at the University of California also noted that the mice that were exposed to triclosan acted "through molecular mechanisms that are also relevant in humans.” This means that the chemical poses an extremely high risk of liver toxicity in humans, just as it as it does in mice. The risk of it occurring increase when it is combined with other compounds that have similar actions, too.
Avoiding Triclosan in Products
It's wise to check the labels on containers to make sure that triclosan is not listed as an ingredient. The Environmental Working group provides helpful tips to avoid triclosan containing products in your home, such as watching "for triclosan (and triclocarban, its dangerous cousin) in the personal care products" you buy and avoiding many products labeled antibacterial.
Toxic Pills Increase Health Risks
Another dangerous toxin that is hidden in products we use frequently are excipients. Even though excipients are essential components used in the manufacturing of dietary supplements, the FDA lists many of them as dangerous potential toxins. Excipients are added to a product for various reasons – chief among them being for quicker and easier production.
Some examples of known excipient-caused toxicities, according to the NIH, include renal failure (diethylene glycol), hypersensitivity reactions (lanolin) and cardiotoxicity (propylene glycol).
Products that contain excipients are a little easier to avoid than products that contain Triclosan, and if you would like to familiarize yourself with the excipients that go into the dietary supplements or vitamins you may be using, you can go to the Consumer Medicines Information to get a list of them.
What You can do to Avoid Excipients
If you find that you want your supplements to be excipient-free, there are a number of great options on the market today that are available. If you are visiting the supermarket or drugstore, just check the labels to make sure that none of the excipients listed on the the Consumer Medicines Information website are in the product. Another thing you can do is to select products that are in either powder or liquid form.
Many people shop online, and there are e-commerce sites such as Amazon that offer a way to check labels while you're browsing. For instance, go to this page on Amazon and hover the mouse pointer over “Supplement Facts” on the pill bottle. That allows you to view the ingredients in a magnified window.
Although Triclosan and excipients are toxic and found in many of the products we use, there are steps we can take to cut down or completely eliminate them from our environment. These substances and many others lend credence to the term "Buyer Beware."
More about Triclosan, Chemicals, excipients, Fda, Liver
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