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Pesticide in Soap, Toothpaste and Breast Milk: Is It Kid-Safe?

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Publication Date: July 2008

Publisher(s): Environmental Working Group

Author(s): Rebecca Sutton; Olga Naidenko; Natalia Chwialkowski; Jane Houlihan

Topic: Environment (Pollution and environmental degradation)

Keywords: triclosan; antibacterial; pesticide


With no assessment of health risks to infants, federal regulators have approved a hormone-disrupting pesticide, triclosan, for use in 140 different types of consumer products including liquid hand soap, toothpaste, undergarments and children's toys. This exposure has been allowed despite the fact that the chemical ends up in mothers' breast milk and poses potential toxicity to fetal and childhood development. In addition to these risks, Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds no evidence that triclosan's widespread use in liquid hand soap and other products gives consumers the germ-killing benefits they are promised. The American Medical Association, a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee, and dozens of academic researchers have determined that antimicrobial soap does not work any better than plain soap and water at preventing the spread of infections or reducing bacteria on the skin.


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