Triclosan: Is Bath & Body Works’ new soap harmful to teens? (LA Times Greenspace blog, 7/18/2011)

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Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical used in many antibacterial cosmetics and other consumer products. It's also classified as a pesticide by the EPA, and it disrupts hormones (and thus is an emerging chemical of concern for breast cancer), yet it's no more effective than plain soap and water. That's why the Breast Cancer Fund's Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is targeting Bath & Body Works for the company's use of triclosan in hand soaps marketed to teens, as reported by the LA Times Greenspace blog:

Health and environmental groups have mounted a campaign against Bath & Body Works, urging the retailer to stop selling its line of “Summertime Scent” soaps that contain triclosan, a chemical categorized as a pesticide.

Scientific studies have linked triclosan to hormone disruption, which could be hazardous to teenagers whose bodies are still developing.

"A chemical like triclosan that can disrupt hormones and may affect fetal growth and development does not belong in our soap," said Lisa Archer, director of the San Francisco-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund. "Studies show that triclosan is no more effective at preventing illness or removing germs than soap and water."

The line, which includes products with names like "Tangelo Orange Twist" and "Sugar Lemon Fizz," is marketed to teenagers using the slogan "spread love, not germs."

According to the Breast Cancer Fund, major companies, including Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, The Body Shop, and Staples, are either no longer using the chemical or are phasing it out of products. Colgate-Palmolive has eliminated triclosan from its dishwashing liquids and Softsoap hand soaps, but continues to use the chemical in Total brand toothpaste. (Read complete post.)

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