Who is Watching?


The Food and Drug Administration on September 2 2016 banned the use of triclosan an ingredient in nearly half of the liquid soaps and triclocarbon used in many bar soaps. The Agency based the ban on the industry’s failure to prove the ingredients were more effective than traditional soap or that they were safe for use over the long-term. The ban applies to only consumers’ use of these products. In the 7th edition of my  Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients the entries  read:

  • TRICLOSAN is a broad-spectrum antibacterial that it active against some types of bacteria. The Environmental registers it as a pesticide citing as a risk to both human health and the environment. It is a chlorinated aromatic similar in molecular structure to highly toxic compounds such as dioxins, PCBs and Agent Orange. It is not only used in soaps but in household products, vaginal deodorants and sprays and drugs.
  • TRICLOCARBON is widely used to kill bacteria in soaps, medicated cosmetics, deodorants, and cleansing creams. It is derived from coal-tar and is toxic.


In May 1983, it was revealed tests for triclocarbon as a soap ingredient were falsified and all rat deaths not reported. The reason for the deaths was not confirmed.

Reports in the scientific literature in 2001 suggested the use of antibacterials in soaps and washes may cause resistant germs. Agencies in America Europe and Asia, of course, are all worried about antibiotic resistance in humans caused by the antibacterials given to  animals we eat. Antibiotics are used to encourage growth and to treat disease. Will using soap with triclocarbon and triclosan add to antibacterial resistance in us? The FDA evidently thinks so.I%t has taken more than 30 years since the red flag was first raised before the FDA issued the ban.

Soap is the oldest cleanser, usually a mixture of sodium salts of various fatty acid. In liquid soaps, potassium instead of sodium is used. Bar soaps vary in content from brand to brand, depending on the fats or oils used. Sodium hydroxide makes a strong soap, fatty acids a mild soap. Soaps are often found in toothpaste, tooth powder, and shaving creams.

The pH of a solution is measured on a scale of 14. Soaps that claim to be neutral are actually alkaline, with a pH.–such as water–. 7 : Acid is less than 7; alkaline is more than 7    when dissolved in water. Skin is 5 to 6.5 pH. . A  neutral solution, neither acid nor alkaline, such as water, is 7.  The pH of blood is 7.3 ; lemon juice is 2.3.  Skin and hair are naturally acidic. Soap and detergents are alkaline .

Soap is usually made by the saponification (mixture) of a vegetable oil with caustic soda. Hard soap consists of largely of sodium oleate (animal fat) or sodium palmitate (from palm oil) and is often used medically as an antiseptic, detergent or suppository.

Personally, I have always felt safe when medical personnel wash their hands with antibacterial liquid soap before touching me. Many manufacturers are now rushing to remove  triclosan and triclocarban from their products. Soaps without the chemicals will soon be widely advertised and available in stores and medical facilities .The FDA says washing with old-fashioned soap is really all the antibacterial substance we need.



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