So really, how much can there be to blog about SOAP. Yes, Soap! The stuff we use (hopefully) daily to clean our hands and our bodies? Well turns out there is waaay more to know about soap than I ever realized and quite a few babysteps you can take to keep your family a little bit healthier and happier just by changing the way you SUDS UP!
So when exactly did SOAP hit my radar?? Probably after Lady A reacted to Alcohol and we went on a whole house rampage looking for anything and everything that contained this ingredient. Of course one of the main sources for alcohol was in HAND SANITIZING products including soaps, wet wipes and hand cleaner. Out it went and we went on a search for safe soaps that Lady A could use. We first found this goat’s milk bar soap that worked well and we could find at Whole Foods. But as Lady A entered pre-school we were searching for an option to replace liquid soap and hand sanitizer. After much searching and finding almost all the store-bought soaps filled with additives, preservatives, anti-bacterial agents and artificial fragrance, we decided to make our own. We found Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild soap to be a good base and viola by adding water and a foaming pump, we had foaming hand soap. For a bit of scent we added a drop or two of essential oils that were Lady A safe (avoiding the peppermints, wintergreen and menthol for salicylates).
You can find our recipe here (and make your own)!
So once we figured out a few safe options for our family, I set out to research what the other soaps had in them and if it was really so bad after all… well, I am sure you won’t be shocked to know that YES, it is THAT BAD.
Just a few highlights on one chemical in particular since most antibacterial soaps (nearly 75%!!) contain: TRICLOSAN as the active ingredient (the part that makes it an antibacterial vs. plain soap).
What is TRICLOSAN? glad you asked!
Triclosan, similar in its uses and mechanism of action to triclocarban, is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in numerous consumer products, including soaps, detergents, toys, and surgical cleaning treatments. Its efficacy as an antimicrobial agent and the risk of antibacterial resistance remains controversial. Additional research seeks to understand its potential effects on organism and environmental health. source: Wikipedia
You can follow a number of the policy issues involving Triclosan.
And what about antibacterial resistance?
findings: “Furthermore, the excessive use of TCS (triclosan) is suspected to increase the risk of emergence of TCS-resistant bacteria and the selection of resistant strains.”
And as you know a topic near and dear to my heart- What is Triclosan’s impact on Mitochondria? Here is what the science is saying:
findings- “These results suggest that, besides its antibacterial effect, TRN can also impair the mitochondrial function of animal cells.”
and one more on muscle contraction in mice and minnows-
Triclosan, A Chemical Used in Antibacterial Soaps, is Found to Impair Muscle Function
Findings: “In the first phase of the study, the researchers exposed individual human muscle cells, both from the heart and typical skeletal muscles, to concentrations of triclosan similar to what our bodies experience in everyday life. Then, they used electrical stimulation to cause the muscle cells to contract. Normally, electrical stimulations prompts an immediate muscle contraction—a mechanism that is responsible for the entirety of our muscle activity. In the isolated cells, though, exposure to triclosan disrupted communication between two proteins crucial for proper muscle functioning, causing failure in both the heart and skeletal muscle cells. The research team also tested the effects of the chemical on two types of live animals—mice and fathead minnows. In the mice, heart muscle function was reduced by as much as 25 percent after exposure to a single dose of triclosan, and grip strength was reduced by as much as 18 percent.”
Researcher speaking about her findings with Triclosan-
Did you hear her?? TRICLOSAN IS NO MORE EFFECTIVE THAN PLAIN SOAP!! Yet nothing is actively being done by the FDA regarding regulation of Triclosan!
Editor’s notes: Minnesota is the first State To BAN Triclosan starting in 2017.
So in conclusion…not all soap is created equal! Especially not antibacterial soap. As I was finishing up this post, I learned of a dear friend’s son who sustained a chemical burn to his retina after getting a foaming hand soap that contained triclosan splashed in his eye from a dispenser that was about eye level with a preschooler, at a local grocery store. Over 80% of his cornea was burned by the soap and he is still recovering. God willing that he will regain his vision in that eye and that it will heal. So judge for yourself… something so common, so ubiquitous, in every home, school, grocery store and bathroom, is it as safe as we all assume? Or do precautions need to be taken and regulations need to be changed to protect our kids and our own health?