From "Nosferatu" in 1922 to "Contagion" in 2011, movies have stoked microbe terror by (usually inaccurately) dramatizing what could happen if an evil virus or bacteria were unleashed on humanity. What no one thought to portray is the actual harm that ANTImicrobials do to the environment, animals and YOU.
Now the Center for Environmental Security is spreading the word that the use of at-home germ killers, like triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS), poses serious risks. They were first developed for medical use and are beneficial in that context. But these chemicals, found in more than 2,000 consumer products such as soaps, toothpaste, detergents, clothing, carpets, paints, plastics, toys, school supplies and even pacifiers, don't make you healthier. They pollute the water supply, can disrupt your fertility, may cause birth defects and may disturb hormone-related and immune functions. And oh yeah, they may fuel antibiotic resistance. They're so prevalent that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says these chemicals are found in the blood of 75 percent of Americans.
Now the Food and Drug Administration is asking soap manufacturers to either show that TCC and TCS are safe or remove them from products. You have until June 16 to let the FDA know what you think about this move. Go to www.regulations.gov and search for "triclosan." There you'll be able to write your thoughts and send them off. And in the meantime, stick with good ol' soap and water; wash your hands for 20 seconds to disinfect them, and use only alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
© King Features Syndicate