Pregnant? Avoid Antibacterial Products
The American Chemical Society (ACS) has suggested that women who are pregnant should avoid common antibacterial chemicals. That’s because mounting evidence shows antibacterial chemicals are showing up in pregnant women’s bloodstreams, and in umbilical cord blood, (which, of course, supplies blood to developing fetuses). Chemicals such as triclosan and triclocarban were present in the urine samples of all mothers tested, according to a report delivered to attendees at the recent annual meeting of the ACS. About half of cord blood samples were positive for the widespread chemicals.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still debating whether or not to curtail the use of these antibacterial chemicals, which are common in products such as antibacterial hand soaps and other products. In the meantime, evidence continues to pile up showing that these compounds can interfere with normal development and reproductive health. Unfortunately, more than 2,000 common household products labeled antibacterial—including toothpastes, soaps, detergents, carpets, paints, and even school supplies—contain these problematic chemicals.
"If you cut off the source of exposure, eventually triclosan and triclocarban would quickly be diluted out, but the truth is that we have universal use of these chemicals, and therefore also universal exposure," says Rolf Halden, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study, conducted at Arizona State University.
Certain companies, including industry giants, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, have announced that they will phase out use of the chemicals in their products. Some states are also taking steps to limit their use. But your best bet is to avoid buying or using any products labeled “antibacterial”. Good old soap and running water are still best for cleaning hands and curtailing the spread of germs. No chemicals required.
Incidentally, the use of one common antibacterial chemical, called butyl paraben (common in cosmetics), has been linked to shorter newborn birth length.
American Chemical Society (ACS). "Pregnant women, fetuses exposed to antibacterial compounds face potential health risks ." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2014. .