Citing environmental concerns, Minnesota state legislators next month are expected to debate banning the use of the common antibacterial ingredient triclosan. By an executive order
effective in 2013, Minnesota's governor had already barred state agencies from purchasing any hand washing, dish or laundry soaps containing triclosan. The concern is that natural chemical interactions in the environment will create dioxins that pose a threat to aquatic life. Dioxins also have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.
infectious disease expert Pritish Tosh, M.D.
says for the benefit of public health, fewer antibacterial products on the market could actually be a good thing. Dr. Tosh says the misuse of antibiotics and the overuse of antibacterial agents are at least partially to blame for the growth of so-called "super-bugs."
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Tosh are available in the downloads.
Sound bite #1 Resistant Bacteria Thrive (Dr. Pritish Tosh, Mayo Clinic) [pronounced: prih-TEESH Tahsh] "This is contributing worldwide to problems of antibiotic resistance, where we actually see infections that we can’t predictably treat with the antibiotics that we have.” TRT :10
The federal government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also are taking a closer look at antibacterial soaps
. Dr. Tosh says he has no opinion about the political decisions involved in a proposed triclosan ban but says, with even the FDA questioning its value, such ingredients would not be missed.
Sound bite #2 Wouldn't Be Missed (Dr. Pritish Tosh, Mayo Clinic) [pronounced: prih-TEESH Tahsh] “And so there’s no clear benefit to using these antibacterial soaps rather than regular soap. If there’s no clear benefit and also a real potential downside, it makes a lot of sense not to use these products.” TRT :13
Dr. Tosh says regular hand washing is always wise for lowering your risk of getting sick and to prevent the spread of disease, but simple soap is enough.
Sound bite #3 Simple Advice (Dr. Pritish Tosh, Mayo Clinic) [pronounced: prih-TEESH Tahsh] “In general, just good hand hygiene, regular soap and water. Also using alcohol hand sanitizer is all very, very good. :10 The use of the antibacterial soap we just steer away from because there’s no clear benefit.” TRT :15