Health Blog

Antibacterial Soap Linked to Altered Hormones and Antibiotic Resistence

Posted in Health Articles by Pulse Health Screening on May 4, 2010
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Are You Disinfecting Your Way to Poor Health?

In an ironic twist, while you’re disinfecting your body and your home to keep your family safe, you may actually be creating far more dangerous problems than those you’re trying to avoid.

For starters, a child raised in an environment doused in disinfectant soaps and cleansers, who is given antibiotics that kill off all of the good and bad bacteria in his gut, and kept away from the natural dirt, germs, viruses and other grime of childhood, is not able to build up natural resistance to disease, and becomes vulnerable to illnesses later in life.

This theory, known as the hygiene hypothesis, is likely one reason why many allergies and immune-system diseases have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in the last few decades.

But it doesn’t end there.

One of the most common antibacterials is triclosan, a chlorinated phenolic compound. Triclosan has been found to have both estrogenic and androgenic activity and has been linked to hormone disruption in animals.

One 2006 study found that triclosan induces changes in the thyroid hormone-mediated process of metamorphosis of the North American bullfrog, while a 2007 study demonstrated, for the first time, that triclosan decreases circulating concentrations of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4), in rats.

This effect could be a potential health hazard for each individual that chooses to use triclosan products, but the widespread use of triclosan is also contributing to a much bigger problem that affects everyone.

The Health Threat of Antibiotic-Resistant Disease

Triclosan, a potent wide antibacterial and antifungal agent used in a large number of everyday products such as soaps, detergents, toothpaste, deodorants and antiperspirants and other cosmetics, has been used for about 30 years. It can now even be found in clothing and children’s toys.

Many of its defenders use this as a measure of its safety, when in fact there are clear signs that in this time-frame health problems have arisen as a result of its widespread, everyday use.

Sure, people aren’t dropping like flies when using it, so it’s not an immediate threat to your health. But there’s nothing subtle about its effects when viewed from a larger, long-term perspective, which we now have.

Antibiotic-resistant diseases, for example, have sharply increased and now pose a greater threat than modern plagues like HIV/AIDS. The widespread, excessive use of antibacterial products, in addition to the routine use of antibiotics in our food supply, is likely a significant part of the problem.

Even the more conservative American Medical Association (AMA) stated in the year 2000

“Despite their recent proliferation in consumer products, the use of antimicrobial agents such as triclosan has not been studied extensively. No data exist to support their efficacy when used in such products or any need for them, but increasing data now suggest growing acquired resistance to these commonly used antimicrobial agents.

… In light of these findings, there is little evidence to support the use of antimicrobials in consumer products such as topical hand lotions and soaps.”

That was literally TEN YEARS AGO, and nothing has been done to curb its commercial and personal use. If anything, it has proliferated virtually unchecked, and antibiotic-resistant disease has climbed right along with it.

More recently, in 2006, the Emerging Contaminants Workgroup of the Santa Clara Basin Watershed Management Initiative (SCBWMI), issued a white paper on triclosan, where they explain, in layman’s terms, the mechanism by which triclosan may cause resistance:

“Unlike bleach and soap that destroy and dislodge bacteria microbes, triclosan works by interfering with a specific bacterial enzyme. Non-specific antiseptics, such as alcohol, merely break open the cell and, therefore, are not the type of chemical to which bacteria could develop resistance.

On the other hand, triclosan’s mode of action is different from alcohols and peroxide. Triclosan is fat-soluble and easily penetrates the bacterial cell wall. And once inside the cell it attacks an enzyme that is used to produce fatty acids that are vital to cell function.

This mode-of-action could ultimately lead to the development of antibiotic resistance. Through continual use of triclosan, non-bacterial strains would be killed, leaving only the bacteria whose enzyme system has evolved to resist the presence of triclosan.

Some microbiologists fear that the commercial and personal overuse of triclosan could reduce the effectiveness of currently useful antibiotics. For instance, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis targets the same enzyme system.”

A fairly recent article published in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science states that at as of the end of 2009, two types of drug-resistant tuberculosis have been recognized.

So-called “multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis” (MDR TB) is resistant to at least two of the four first-line drugs, and “extensively drug resistant tuberculosis” (XDR TB) is resistant to three, plus at least one of three additional second-line drugs.

Sadly, a vast majority of antibiotic-resistant diseases like these could have been prevented, as they are in large part man-made – the result of fuzzy logic and dollar signs for eyeballs.

The very idea that we must protect ourselves from any and all bacteria at every turn, by eradicating them from every orifice, inch of skin, every utensil and every surface you ever come in contact with, is fundamentally flawed. And we’re now living with the ramifications of this misguided line of thinking, which, by the way, was not driven to these extremes by health scientists, but rather by corporate interests.

Unfortunately, over the years a majority of people have fallen for the flashy advertising promising safety and better health in a germ infested, dangerous world.

Antibacterial Products Actually LESS EFFECTIVE than Plain Soap and Water…

As the AMA stated ten years ago, there was, and still is, little or no evidence that these antibacterial products outperform the good-old-fashioned techniques like washing with soap and water.

What there is, however, is evidence that the old anti-germ strategies are more effective than modern antibacterials!

In a recent press release, Dr. Sarah Janssen of the Natural Resources Defense Council is quoted as saying:

“It’s about time FDA has finally stated its concerns about antibacterial chemicals like triclosan.

The public deserves to know that these so-called antibacterial products are no more effective in preventing infections than regular soap and water and may, in fact, be dangerous to their health in the long run.” [Emphasis mine.]

Source: Dr Mercola’s Newsletter 1/5/10

If you want to keep your family safe, avoid any products containing Triclosan. Neways International produce a wide range of toxin-free toiletires and household products, none of which contain Triclosan. These are available from Healthy Choices.


Common Chemicals Threaten Male Fertility

Posted in Uncategorized by Pulse Health Screening on June 4, 2009
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A leading scientist has warned that chemicals found in many food, cosmetic and cleaning products pose a real threat to male fertility. Professor Richard Sharpe, of the Medical Research Council, says that these hormone-disrupting chemicals are “feminizing” boys in the womb, leading to rising rates of birth defects, testicular cancer, and low sperm counts.

It is thought that all these conditions, collectively called Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome (TDS), are linked to disruption of the male sex hormone testosterone. Professor Sharpe concluded that exposure to a cocktail of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment is likely to be at least partly to blame by blocking the action of testosterone in the womb.

His latest report, commissioned by an organisation called CHEM Trust, highlights animal studies showing that testosterone-disrupting chemicals can cause TDS-like disorders.

CHEM Trust Director, Elizabeth Salter Green comments:

“Chemicals that have been shown to act together to affect male reproductive health should have their risks assessed together. Currently that is not the case, and unfortunately chemicals are looked at on an individual basis.

Therefore, government assurances that exposures are too low to have any effect just do not hold water because regulators do not take into account the additive actions of hormone disrupting chemicals.”

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are everywhere these days. You are exposed to them from a variety of sources, including countless common household products, toys, personal care products, and cosmetics.

Here’s a list of twelve common agents with hormonal activity, i.e. potential endocrine disrupters:
1. Phthalates — Exposure to phthalates can lead to incomplete testicular descent in foetuses. Phthalates are found in vinyl flooring, detergents, automotive plastics, soap, shampoo, deodorants, fragrances, hair spray, nail polish, plastic bags, food packaging, garden hoses, inflatable toys, blood-storage bags, and intravenous medical tubing.
2. Bisphenol A — a common ingredient in many plastics, including those in reusable water bottles and resins lining some food cans and dental sealants, can change the course of foetal development in a way that increases the risk of breast cancer.
3. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — found in grease- and water-resistant coatings like Teflon and Gore-Tex, is a likely carcinogen.
4. Methoxychlor and Vinclozin— An insecticide and a fungicide respectively, have been found to cause changes to male mice born for as many as four subsequent generations after the initial exposure.
5. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) — Known to be potent endocrine disrupters, these chemicals affect gene expression by turning on or off certain genes, and interfere with the way your glandular system works. They mimic the female hormone estrogen, and have been implicated as one reason behind some marine species switching from male to female.
6. Bovine growth hormones, commonly added to commercial dairy have been implicated as a contributor to premature adolescence.
7. Soy products, which are loaded with hormone-like substances.
8. MSG — A food additive that’s been linked to reduced fertility.
9. Fluoride — This chemical in at least 10% of water supplies in the UK has been linked to lower fertility rates, hormone disruption and low sperm counts.
10. Synthetically produced pharmaceuticals that are intended to be highly hormonally active, such as contraceptive pills and treatments for hormone-responsive cancers. Your body is not designed to be exposed to these synthetic hormones, and long-term use will invariably increase your risk of developing serious chronic illness.
11. Other natural chemicals, including toxins produced by components of plants (the so-called phytoestrogens, such as genistein or coumestrol) and certain fungi.
12. Other man-made chemicals and by-products released into the environment. These include some pesticides (such as pyrethroids, linuron, vinclozolin, fenitrothion, DDT and other chlorinated compounds), and a number of industrial chemicals like polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) and dioxins.

For more information about potentially harmful ingredients in everyday products, visit