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Germ Killing Agent Found in Most Hand Soaps is Banned in Minneso - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Germ Killing Agent Found in Most Hand Soaps is Banned in Minnesota

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"It's available in a lot of cleaning products for the hospital but also a wide variety of consumer products. All the way from hand sanitizers to toothpaste actually."
An anti-bacterial agent found in nearly 75% of hand sanitizers has been banned in Minnesota. It's called triclosan and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill making Minnesota the first state in the country to ban the ingredient. Valley News team's Eric Crest breaks down how the readily available drug, likely found in your home, is getting the axe from many pharmaceutical companies.
Triclosan is most likely already in your house. The ingredient has been readily available for years.
"Triclosan first caught my radar maybe a decade ago when I was a freshman in college," says Ganesh Bala a Research Scientist at NDSU.
The anti-bacterial agent can be found in nearly 75 percent of liquid hand soaps on the market today. Tests on animals have suggested the ingredient is capable of producing hormonal changes, heart problems, and can even impair muscle function. But the debate is just really beginning.
"We don't really know if it translates directly to humans. They're probably is some moderate risk associated with it but it's probably low. Similar to other products we use for cleaning and stuff like that," explains Dr. Michael Blankinship a Physician of Dermatology at Essentia Health in Fargo.
"Triclosan can cross over our skin and get into the blood stream. Which is not good. Using anti-bacterial's containing triclosan on a long term basis- what happens is the accumulation of triclosan in your body increases," says Bala.
If your not so much concerned about triclosan effecting your body, maybe you're concerned about it's potential impacts on the environment. It's been documented that it is starting to contaminate rivers, streams, and sewage that is applied to agriculture fields. Once it hits some of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes some scientists worry about the bacteria killer impacting our aquatic life as well.
"When this algae is killed by triclosan your photosynthesis process gets effected," explains Bala.
Because if the ingredient ends up in our ground water,lakes and ponds another can of worms is unleashed on Minnesota.
"Governments are going to have to worry about it accumulating in our water systems and environment as opposed to just personal use. So their taking the bigger picture view, the long term view of it," says Dr. Blankinship.
By 2016 companies that use triclosan will be required to provide the F-D-A with updated data on the product's safety and effectiveness. If you're looking for an alternative, consider an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and start checking out the ingredients on your liquid soaps and tooth pastes.
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