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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chemical in antibacterial soaps produces toxic dioxins

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 by: S. L. Baker, feature writer

(NaturalNews) Dioxins are a group of highly toxic compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants. People are exposed to dioxins through the environment and the food chain -- the highest levels of these compounds are found in soils, sediments and food such as dairy products, meat, fish and shellfish. And, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), this exposure can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.

So you would never flush dioxins into your water supply, right? If you use antibacterial soaps and other antibacterial products, you could be doing the equivalent of just that.

In 2003 and 2009, University of Minnesota civil engineering professor William Arnold and his colleague Kristopher McNeill published their discovery that the antibacterial agent triclosan, when exposed to sunlight, generates a specific group of four dioxins. Now, in a new study, a team of scientists from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology, Pace Analytical (Minneapolis), the Science Museum of Minnesota and Virginia Tech, have documented how triclosan is transformed into dioxins that are accumulating in the environment. This research, just published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, concludes dioxins originating from triclosan (found in many hand soaps, deodorants and dishwashing liquids) account for a huge increase in total dioxins now polluting Mississippi River sediments.

Efforts to cut down on dioxin contamination resulting from industrial pollution have been underway for several decades. However, the issue of triclosan in antibacterial consumer products has been virtually ignored. And the research team has found that over the last 30 years, while levels of all the other dioxins have dropped by 73 to 90 percent, the levels of dioxins derived from the antibacterial soap ingredient triclosan have risen by 200 to 300 percent.

For the new study, which was headed by Jeff Buth, a recent University of Minnesota Ph.D. graduate in chemistry, the researchers examined sediment samples from Lake Pepin, an enlargement of the Mississippi River located 120 miles downstream from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. They analyzed sediment cores (which contain a record of accumulated pollutants in the lake over the past 50 years) and checked for amounts of triclosan, the four dioxins derived from triclosan, and the entire family of dioxin chemicals.

The results? In the most current sediments, triclosan-derived dioxins account for about 30 percent of the total dioxin mass. "These four dioxins only come from triclosan. They didn't exist in Lake Pepin before triclosan was introduced," Dr. Arnold said in a statement to the media.

Triclosan was first added to commercial liquid hand soap in 1987. Four years later, nearly 80 percent of commercial liquid hand soaps contained it, the researchers noted. And what happens to this chemical when people use triclosan-containing products to wash their hands and dishes? About 96 percent of it ends up in residential drains, leading to large loads of triclosan-contaminated water that enters treatment plants.

Unfortunately, triclosan can not be completely removed during the wastewater treatment process. So when treated wastewater is released back into the environment, there's triclosan still in it and sunlight converts some of the triclosan (and related compounds) into dioxins.

That's how the triclosan and dioxins ended up in Lake Pepin sediments, the researchers explained. The chemicals stuck to organic particles in the river and then sank into sediment when they reached the calmer waters of the lake.

In addition to the environmental danger that arises from triclosan's ability to morph into dioxin, the chemical has also been linked to disruptions of hormonal function and may play a role in the evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics -- yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has done little to address these concerns. In April, the FDA announced it would finally at least study the triclosan situation.

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At Nature's Sunshine we have excellent healthy alternatives to the products which produce poisonous residues mentioned in the above article. Back in 2001, I began teaching about these dioxins and poisons in our enviroment, the health problems they cause and the alternatives we have at our fingertips. It was then that I began removing the toxins from my home and began the detoxification process for my family. Here are a few of the healthy alternatives which we can use. Silver Shield Gel is a fabulous hand sanitizer which can protect you from germs for up to four hours, and has no negative effects on our bodies or our environment. This is a product which everyone in my family has their own personal tube. Not only do we use it as a sanitizer, it kills viral, bacterial and fungal infections, takes away pain and helps to speed the healing process so we use it on all our cuts, bumps and bruises. NSP also sells Sunshine Concentrated cleaner which is an excellent all purpose soap cleaner to use all around the house. It works very well to keep bathrooms, kitchens, floors, laundry clean, germ free and healthy and is gentle enough to use as a bubble bath, body soap as well. Use some baking soda, vinegar, salt and Add some essential oils to the mix and you can add additional health benefits to your cleaning solutions. (Learn more about Pure Essential Oils). NSP carries a delicious Xylitol toothpaste and mouthwash which are free of toxic chemicals and work to not only keep the mouth and teeth clean, but also kills out unfriendly bacteria while keeping the friendly flora balanced. NSP also has wonderful healthy shampoos, Herbal Shampoo and Natria Restoring Shampoo and Restructuring Conditioner, plus Body Wash, and Natria Body Lotion, all of which are toxin free and have a clean healthy smell. Try these healthy alternatives and get rid of the toxic chemicals that are in your home. In addition to the products we now carry, we will be introducing new Nature's Fresh cleaning products this fall. As always Nature's Sunshine is ahead of the rest when it comes to finding healthy alternatives. Make sure to check back with us for more info in the near future.

Nature's Fresh Cleaning Products
Cleaning SuppliesMark your calendars now for the special launch of our new Nature's Fresh cleaning products. We're planning to hold 25 meetings across the country where we'll introduce our line of natural, environmentally friendly, safe cleaning products, including:

- laundry soap
- dryer sheets
- enzyme spray
- surface cleaner
- oxygen bleach
- surface wipes
- dish soap

We'll be in your area August 2-14. Stay tuned for locations and more information next month.

Please call or email me with your questions and comments.
Share the Health,
Karen Herrmann-Doolan, NSP District Manager
Nature's Sunshine Herb Specialist
Natural Health Educator
H: 704-588-7638
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