Newswise – You should not use antibacterial soaps and cleaningproducts, because they can expose you to high amounts ofchloroform. The chemical triclosan, which is present in manyof these products, reacts with tap water to form thedangerous chemical chloroform. Chloroform has beenclassified by the EPA as a human carcinogen. Also, usingthese products regularly can create superbugs, that build upa resistance to the antibacterial agents in them.

Peter Vikesland says that triclosan is a syntheticantimicrobial agent that has become increasingly popular usein personal care products, cosmetics, antimicrobial creams,acne treatments, lotions, hand soaps, and dish soaps.Triclosan is most often used to kill bacteria on the skinand other surfaces and is sometimes even used to preserve food.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has been urging theFDA to regulate the home use of antimicrobials such astriclosan, especially due to the increasing popularity ofantimicrobial products. “This is the first work that we knowof that suggests that consumer products, such asantimicrobial soap, can produce significant quantities ofchloroform,” says Vikesland. “There are numerous potentialexposure pathways that can be envisioned, such as inhalationand skin exposure, when using antimicrobial soaps to washdishes or when taking a shower. There is also risk ofexposure when using triclosan laden moisturizers. as theymay also react with chlorine in the water.”

Most of the consumer products containing triclosaneventually end up going down residential drains, where theyend up in rivers, streams and lakes. Exposure to sunlightcan turn them into cancer-causing dioxins. Dioxins do notdegrade over time and they can accumulate in body tissues.

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