Minnesota Is the First State to Ban Antibacterial Soap With Triclosan

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Minnesota Is the First State to Ban Antibacterial Soap With Triclosan

Hand Soap

Antibacterial soaps containing triclosan are being banned in Minnesota, and other states may follow.

Roughly 75 percent of antibacterial soaps and body washes sold in the U.S. include a chemical called triclosan, and Minnesota is banning all products that contain it as an active ingredient. The ban will only go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, but Sen. John Marty, one of the ban's lead sponsors, predicted that most manufacturers will likely phase out triclosan by then. Marty also believes that other states and even the federal government will take action against triclosan, which will apply pressure to manufacturers.

Triclosan, a common antibacterial agent found in many soaps, is absorbed through your skin and enters your bloodstream. The FDA says there is currently no evidence that triclosan provides any extra benefits in soap, and the results of some human and animal studies have given the FDA reason to review the chemical's effect on humans. In lab animals, triclosan was found to disrupt hormones critical for reproduction and development. For the time being, however, the FDA states that triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans.

It seems to me that if there is a real concern, then delaying the ban until 2017 means willfully endangering citizens for over two full years. But if there is no real concern, then why ban triclosan at all? Will you continue to use products that include triclosan, or do you think Minnesota has jumped the gun?

Source: AP News

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If it doesn't make soap better, and has a chance to sterilize you, then why the sweet fuck were they putting it in soap in the first place?
Money, probably.

No. We are way too clean already!

That's not me being funny, I'm dead serious! Why do you think half the kids these days have asthma or allergies? Because they were never infected with worms. What do you think you will gain from washing away the bacteria that live in your skin? It only harms you because now resistant bacteria develop and your own beneficial bacteria end up dead.

Less cleanliness unless required (when you are actually sick) would be a good thing.

Go swimming in a lake once in a while and maybe rub up against an infected cat.

At first I thought it could've been to the dwindling effectiveness of antibiotics due to new strains of bacteria emerging but no.

I get the impression that they're giving them two years because it's a possible health concern, not a proven one. If it was proven to cause sterility, I think they'd be calling for its immediate removal. As it is, they're giving companies a chance to retool their production or to find alternative providers before bringing the hammer down.

I don't really agree with it, but that's my opinion of what's happening here.

I believe this is fair. Banning antibacterial soup outright could harm a lot of businesses, so giving them time to change or find alternatives is pretty nice. Two years sounds like a long time, but it is really hard to get something changed effectively in that amount of time. The chemical is already on the way out anyway, so I don't see that much of a problem. Besides, some people are better off sterile.

Sounds fine to me. Banning something that is known to have no positive effect and suspected to have negative effects is perfectly reasonable, and giving a phasing-out timeframe for the ban is also reasonable.

Sure, banning them immediately as punishment for false advertising and watching the companies scramble to deal with the effects might be karmic, but I'm fairly sure that kind of false advertising is what the American economy has been running on for the past 100+ years.

Tahaneira:
I get the impression that they're giving them two years because it's a possible health concern, not a proven one. If it was proven to cause sterility, I think they'd be calling for its immediate removal. As it is, they're giving companies a chance to retool their production or to find alternative providers before bringing the hammer down.

I don't really agree with it, but that's my opinion of what's happening here.

I'm surprised they're taking such a cautious approach to the matter. Look at tobacco products. Says "CAUSES CANCER" and other warnings on the label, still perfectly legal. Why? My guess is alot of money from those that produce it.

"Found to cause x in lab animals" is always a statement that worries me because of how irresponsibly journalists and bloggers use it. It can mean "We gave a rat a dose that is about the same size for the rat as it would be for a human in the kind of amounts we expect the human to be exposed to", which is fine. However, it can also mean "We just kept upping the dose for the rat until bad things happened", which often equates to injecting buckets of the stuff directly into the veins of a human.

Water will cause x in lab animals if you give it the same dose you would give a human, so just saying that something causes x in lab animals should be meaningless without the actual dose. In practice, it's a sure-fire way to scare people into thinking it's dangerous. It's so transparently dishonest, yet so effective at persuading people, that it's kind of up there with asking people to ban dihydrogen monoxide.

If the FDA says it's not been found to be dangerous to humans, that probably means the toxic doses for the rats required so much triclosan that an equivalent dose for a human would be absurdly large.

And here I was thinking that they were banning it because overuse of antibiotics is creating supergerms.

But then again, I sometimes forget that the country I live in is deathly afraid of scientific evidence and progress.

Yes, I'm bitter.

Ok as someone who studies microbiology I can give a little more "real" insight. Triclosan is in everything. Plastic, soap, toothpaste, you name it. The main concern with Triclosan and why I applaud this for different reasons is that most bacteria are resistant or able to easily overcome Triclosan anyway. The problem there in lies that it up-regulates or stimulates bacteria to develop or further become resistant to other antibiotics, ones we actually need and use to treat serious infections. The problem really is,

1337mokro:
No. We are way too clean already!

That's not me being funny, I'm dead serious! Why do you think half the kids these days have asthma or allergies? Because they were never infected with worms. What do you think you will gain from washing away the bacteria that live in your skin? It only harms you because now resistant bacteria develop and your own beneficial bacteria end up dead.

Less cleanliness unless required (when you are actually sick) would be a good thing.

Go swimming in a lake once in a while and maybe rub up against an infected cat.

Also Triclosan targets fatty acid synthesis, how it would cause sterility is beyond me, probably some scared paranoia BS. Tricolsan needs to be banned and is useless but, not for the reasons mentioned here.

Arawn:

I'm surprised they're taking such a cautious approach to the matter. Look at tobacco products. Says "CAUSES CANCER" and other warnings on the label, still perfectly legal. Why? My guess is alot of money from those that produce it.

Taxes just came in for my country this week. Top 5 taxes that put together takes almost half the total profit taxes paid are as follows:
1. Petroleum company.
2. Strong alcoholic drinks company
3. Tobacco factory
4. Strong alcoholic drinks company
5. light alcoholic drinks company

Drugs is very profitable business.

1337mokro:
No. We are way too clean already!
snip

I never thought id be praised for taking a shower only once a week.

The World Famous:
If it doesn't make soap better, and has a chance to sterilize you, then why the sweet fuck were they putting it in soap in the first place?
Money, probably.

That doesn't make sense, and you know it.

"Here's a chemical that does nothing for our soap, and costs money to buy, so let's put it in to GET MORE MONEY!" A simple reality check would conclude that it DOES improve the soap in some way, we're just not sure how.

I really think that "Meh, greedy" responses should be prefaced with an explanation nowadays, if only to make it less agonizingly common.

OT: How about we ban antibacterial soaps as a concept, rather than a common ingredient?

So apparently they didn't test the substance BEFORE allowing it to be sold on the market and are waiting until 2017 before something is done about it?

Oh logic, where are you now?

So, really they aren't banning anti-bacterial soap, just the most common anti-bacterial component for soaps, leaving them free to use an alternative. Meaning that we still have a chance at creating a superbug that no one can stop before it decimates the human race.

'kay.

Triclosan is an antibiotic. Often, multiple antibiotic resistance genes are found on the same plasmid, which is a small, circular piece of DNA that allows bacteria to transfer genes amonst each other. This means that if a plasmid contains both a triclosan resistance gene AND a resistance gene for a medically important antibiotic, we could be artificially selecting for (i.e. human imposed evolution, similar to selective breeding of dogs or maximizing agricultural yield by selecting for larger crops) resistance to multiple antibiotics in bacteria. And, research has shown that antibiotic resistance genes can indeed be found on the same plasmid. If these plasmids become common enough in natural ecosystems, we may be providing disease-causing bacteria with the weapons needed to combat the antibiotics we rely on to treat our most deadly diseases (because selecting for triclosan resistance could lead to selecting for methicillin resistance as well, for example). So, at the very least, this could be an amazing step towards preventing the future emergence of antibiotic resistant diseases like MRSA or antibiotic resistant tuberculosis.

We as humans tend to deal with problems as they emerge, but prevention is a much better tool for dealing with disease (compare the effectiveness of vaccinating against small pox vs. treating common diseases like strep throat or ear infections with antibiotics). Even if the direct effects of triclosan do not negatively affect human health, eliminating this chemical from our soap (which ultimately will end up in our freshwater ecosystems because our water treatment processes focus on removing bacteria but not on removing chemicals such as triclosan) may prevent the emergence of antibiotic resistant diseases in the future.

As a microbial ecologist, I think this is absolutely awesome and this story definitely made my evening. This is a very complicated subject that is very difficult to present to the general public due to the complexity of microbial evolution (they can trade genes! I wish I could trade genes with other people!), but I think this is a very important step towards preventing future diseases.

I've been trying to avoid anti-bacterial soap for a long time. It's just not a good idea to constantly try to kill the bacteria on your body. There is a reason why one can't be on anti-bacterial medication their whole life.

Bacteria is a natural part of our bodies.

This is slightly off topic but still relevant to sentiments expressed in this thread. Seems like most people here are worried about antibiotics becoming less effective. There are a few doctors trying to find new antibiotics by studying the genomes of soil based bacteria and they are trying to crowdsource soil collection to get a wide variety of unique bacteria.

News article about it
Their site where you can sign up to send a soil sample

SexyGarfield:
This is slightly off topic but still relevant to sentiments expressed in this thread. Seems like most people here are worried about antibiotics becoming less effective. There are a few doctors trying to find new antibiotics by studying the genomes of soil based bacteria and they are trying to crowdsource soil collection to get a wide variety of unique bacteria.

News article about it
Their site where you can sign up to send a soil sample

This is really cool! Antibiotics are often how microorganisms compete with each other. Instead of teeth and claws, bacteria and fungi in soils use excreted chemicals to fight each other. Isolating these excreted compounds could provide many new antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But, curing a disease is far less profitable than treating one, so it is awesome to see a citizen-science-based effort to find new antibiotics to cure diseases rather than treating them!

My initial thought is it's being done due to security concerns. Sort of like how they pretty much destroyed inhalers for people like me who need them due to people using it to help cook meth and stuff.

While doubtlessly not used for drugs, something like this could probably be used as a component towards creating chemical weapons and delivering toxins. While it might not have made the news, it's possible someone found a way to do this and maybe a group of terrorists was busted trying to implement it or whatever. Given that this is common to so many products, phasing out those products will make it more difficult for people, even if nothing is ever going to be 100% safe.

I mean it's kind of ridiculous, but you know, we lost Primitine Mist. Presenting things as a health concern (while they double speak about there being no real health concern) plays better with the public than say talking about security risks. Two years to phase this out gives manufacturers opportunities to come up with alternative formulas.

This is incredibly paranoid, and I have no real evidence of any of this of course, but really when I look at this it's the first thing that comes to mind given how ridiculous this seems if someone takes it at face value. It's a health risk, but not a health risk that can be proven, and nothing we should be concerned about since they have two years to phase it out, but a ban is still absolutely necessary? I mean WTF. It seems like the government trying to do something that it feels to need to justify, but for whatever reason feels it can't actually give information about so it's just spouting contradictory nonsense and hopes nobody will think about it too much.

As someone with allergies and Asthma I cared about the primitine mist since I used that, and the new inhalers/mist dispensers are ridiculous. When it comes to the soap I could care less, unlike some people I have no doubt they will find alternatives that work just as well, it's all about that one component, not removing the ability to kill bacteria.

I'd rather they ban all non-commercial or non-medical use of antibacterial soap altogether. Regular soap works just fine for everyday residential use. Using that stuff too often encourages the development of resistant strains of pathogens which is bad for patients undergoing surgery or businesses dealing with food.

Am I the only one who get's an End of Evangelion vibe from that pic?

The World Famous:
If it doesn't make soap better, and has a chance to sterilize you, then why the sweet fuck were they putting it in soap in the first place?
Money, probably.

NOte, it hasn't been shown to have any reproductive effects on humans. As for having no benefit. Neither do the dyes they use to give soaps their lovely pastel colours. Heck the entire supplement industry is based around products that have never been shown or proven to have any real benefit.

fi6eka:
Am I the only one who get's an End of Evangelion vibe from that pic?

...and now I cannot unsee that...

OT: Well, jokes on them... I don't even use anti-bacterial soaps anymore! Or hand sanitizers!!

Wait... What do I use to wash my hands again?

"It seems to me that if there is a real concern, then delaying the ban until 2017 means willfully endangering citizens for over two full years. "
Doesn't seem to have had any proven influences so far, so they are not in a hurry. Bans like this after all need to be justified.

"But if there is no real concern, then why ban triclosan at all?"
They don't know yet, but have hints for bad effects on animals, so they are cautious - better safe than sorry so to say.

"Will you continue to use products that include triclosan,"
I normally don't use antibacterial soap.

"or do you think Minnesota has jumped the gun?"
Don't know, better safe than sorry I guess.

Most people use antibacterial soap to prevent the spread of cold & flu germs. Too bad they are both viri.

Since their tests would have shown the chemical to have no effect on bacteria, why include it in the first place?

lacktheknack:

The World Famous:
If it doesn't make soap better, and has a chance to sterilize you, then why the sweet fuck were they putting it in soap in the first place?
Money, probably.

That doesn't make sense, and you know it.

"Here's a chemical that does nothing for our soap, and costs money to buy, so let's put it in to GET MORE MONEY!" A simple reality check would conclude that it DOES improve the soap in some way, we're just not sure how.

I really think that "Meh, greedy" responses should be prefaced with an explanation nowadays, if only to make it less agonizingly common.

OT: How about we ban antibacterial soaps as a concept, rather than a common ingredient?

Or people are more likely to buy soap because they THINK (aka they're told) it's better than because they actually noticed an improvement.

For a second there I actually thought Minnesota were banning antibacterial soap until I read the fucking article.

Meh, whatever. If it's not actually doing anything in soap then get rid of it. But I'm sure there is not a real threat to people. People love to freak out when a few lab animals get some weird results. This is probably going cause lawsuits against these antibacterial soap companies by people who used it once in a restaurant and then couldn't have kids. But, as I said, remove it since it's not doing anything. You have to wonder, what was the point of them using it. It must have conferred some sort of benefit since it's so commonly used.

McMullen:
"Found to cause x in lab animals" is always a statement that worries me because of how irresponsibly journalists and bloggers use it. It can mean "We gave a rat a dose that is about the same size for the rat as it would be for a human in the kind of amounts we expect the human to be exposed to", which is fine. However, it can also mean "We just kept upping the dose for the rat until bad things happened", which often equates to injecting buckets of the stuff directly into the veins of a human.

Water will cause x in lab animals if you give it the same dose you would give a human, so just saying that something causes x in lab animals should be meaningless without the actual dose. In practice, it's a sure-fire way to scare people into thinking it's dangerous. It's so transparently dishonest, yet so effective at persuading people, that it's kind of up there with asking people to ban dihydrogen monoxide.

If the FDA says it's not been found to be dangerous to humans, that probably means the toxic doses for the rats required so much triclosan that an equivalent dose for a human would be absurdly large.

Often you see those kinds of studies when someone is looking to try to keep something from being approved.

For example, have you seen the relatively new to the market sweetener called Truvia? The sweetener in it is derived from an herb called stevia. It has an interesting history.

It's native to South America, and the first Europeans exposed to it were told that the locals had been using for as long as they could remember.

A Japanese company commercialized it in 1971, but it saw little to no use in the US. Why? Because NutraSweet didn't want it to, had a lot of money, and had friends in the FDA.

At one point, Celestial Seasonings used it in some of their herbal teas. The FDA burned their supply, and denied their claim that it should fall under "generally recognized as safe" (the category that foodstuffs that had long seen use prior to the FDA fall under that prevent the need to do safety studies on things like carrots or thyme). The FDA then classified stevia as an "unsafe food additive" because in large enough doses it caused reduced birth rates in rats.

This gets even more messed up when the rules for "herbal dietary supplements" went into effect, and created a lengthy stretch of time in which you could sell stevia for human consumption in any amount with no warnings or restrictions of any kind as an "herbal dietary supplement", so long as you never mentioned that it had a flavor. If you mentioned that it was sweet tasting, then it suddenly morphed into an "unsafe food additive."

For the time being, however, the FDA states that triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans.

When your organization is basically one big rubber stamp that doesn't properly research, test, or certify anything for long term use before it gets out to the public, you can state that just about anything isn't known to be hazardous to humans.

Peace Frog:

lacktheknack:

The World Famous:
If it doesn't make soap better, and has a chance to sterilize you, then why the sweet fuck were they putting it in soap in the first place?
Money, probably.

That doesn't make sense, and you know it.

"Here's a chemical that does nothing for our soap, and costs money to buy, so let's put it in to GET MORE MONEY!" A simple reality check would conclude that it DOES improve the soap in some way, we're just not sure how.

I really think that "Meh, greedy" responses should be prefaced with an explanation nowadays, if only to make it less agonizingly common.

OT: How about we ban antibacterial soaps as a concept, rather than a common ingredient?

Or people are more likely to buy soap because they THINK (aka they're told) it's better than because they actually noticed an improvement.

Were YOU told "Our soap is better because it contains triclosan"?

I wasn't.

I'm pretty sure that even if a consumer looks at the label, triclosan, trichlorocarbamide and chloroxylenol all look roughly equal.

lacktheknack:

Peace Frog:

lacktheknack:

That doesn't make sense, and you know it.

"Here's a chemical that does nothing for our soap, and costs money to buy, so let's put it in to GET MORE MONEY!" A simple reality check would conclude that it DOES improve the soap in some way, we're just not sure how.

I really think that "Meh, greedy" responses should be prefaced with an explanation nowadays, if only to make it less agonizingly common.

OT: How about we ban antibacterial soaps as a concept, rather than a common ingredient?

Or people are more likely to buy soap because they THINK (aka they're told) it's better than because they actually noticed an improvement.

Were YOU told "Our soap is better because it contains triclosan"?

I wasn't.

I'm pretty sure that even if a consumer looks at the label, triclosan, trichlorocarbamide and chloroxylenol all look roughly equal.

Seeing as it is the most widely used antibacterial agent in soap one could safely venture a guess that it would be cheaper. That would make the money argument a bit more plausible especially since as you mention nobody is comparison shopping based on the antibacterial agent being used.

SexyGarfield:

lacktheknack:

Peace Frog:

Or people are more likely to buy soap because they THINK (aka they're told) it's better than because they actually noticed an improvement.

Were YOU told "Our soap is better because it contains triclosan"?

I wasn't.

I'm pretty sure that even if a consumer looks at the label, triclosan, trichlorocarbamide and chloroxylenol all look roughly equal.

Seeing as it is the most widely used antibacterial agent in soap one could safely venture a guess that it would be cheaper. That would make the money argument a bit more plausible especially since as you mention nobody is comparison shopping based on the antibacterial agent being used.

That would make sense, yes, but then we have to ask why this was in the OP:

The FDA says there is currently no evidence that triclosan provides any extra benefits in soap

If triclosan is an antibacterial, why on earth would it provide "no extra benefits" the the soap? There's something really wrong here. :S

lacktheknack:

The World Famous:
If it doesn't make soap better, and has a chance to sterilize you, then why the sweet fuck were they putting it in soap in the first place?
Money, probably.

That doesn't make sense, and you know it.

"Here's a chemical that does nothing for our soap, and costs money to buy, so let's put it in to GET MORE MONEY!" A simple reality check would conclude that it DOES improve the soap in some way, we're just not sure how.

I really think that "Meh, greedy" responses should be prefaced with an explanation nowadays, if only to make it less agonizingly common.

OT: How about we ban antibacterial soaps as a concept, rather than a common ingredient?

Because most people would go nuts to buy soap that can 99% of germs without thinking of the consequences.

There are practical uses for such soap so a blanket ban is stupid, just restrict to to what it once was, a product used only in hospitals and medical procedures.

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