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July 28th, 2011

Is Bath and Body Works Selling Toxic Soap?

If your soap contains triclosan, it could be doing more harm than good. We are asking Bath and Body Works to stop using triclosan in their products.

Bath and Body Works offers various and sundry products for looking shiny and smelling pleasant. But not everything is as fragrant and innocent as it seems in the land of raspberry lip tickles and loganberry love lotions. While it may seem harmless to dip into a Bath and Body Works gift basket, deep within some of their soapy concoctions of rose petals and fairy dust lies a secret antibacterial potion that we could all do without. This is why Food & Water Watch is asking Bath and Body Works to stop selling products containing triclosan. Bath and Body Works’ antibacterial soap is the main culprit. It contains triclosan, an antimicrobial pesticide that’s used in personal care products like toothpaste, hand soap, face wash, body lotion, and cosmetics. This ingredient is far from harmless. In fact, triclosan is linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption, reducing fertility and sperm counts in wildlife. After we wash our hands with triclosan soap, it gets rinsed down the drain and accumulates in the environment, in ground and surface water and sewage sludge destined for crops. You most likely have triclosan in your body already, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which estimates that it would find the chemical in the urine of 75 percent of the U.S. population.

Many people mistakenly think that antibacterial products are necessary. Health experts have challenged the idea that these products are necessary for everyday household use. In fact, soaps that contain triclosan have not been proven to be more effective in preventing normal household illnesses than ordinary soap and water. In 2005, an FDA advisory panel of experts voted 11 to one that antibacterial soaps were no more effective than regular soap and water in fighting infections.

We’ve been trying to get the FDA and EPA to end the use of triclosan. But in the meantime, companies like Bath and Body Works should stop selling products containing triclosan.

A few big companies like Colgate Palmolive have already stopped using triclosan in some of their products, though they continue to use it in products like toothpaste. We need to convince Bath and Body Works to dump the triclosan. I don’t know very much about body butter, aromatherapy and fragrances, but I know that Bath and Body Works franchises are located in malls and airports throughout the country. If they sell a lot of antibacterial soap — and they probably do — they are introducing a lot of triclosan into the environment. Convincing them to stop would be a huge step in the right direction.

Can you ask Bath and Body Works to discontinue the use of triclosan in their products?

9 Comments on Is Bath and Body Works Selling Toxic Soap?

  1. Lucinda Merritt says:

    We don’t need to build up any more antibiotic resistance! Please remove triclosan from your products, or I will quit buying them.

  2. sarah says:

    I was so, so disappointed when i received my first order from this company today (over 2 years after this article!) and saw it: first ingredient, triclosan. I used it at a friend’s house and could have sworn I didn’t see it on the label, B&BW doesn’t list their ingredients – now i know why – on their website.

    There is SO much info out about this stuff, why in the world it is still used is just beyond me. I’m so sad because i have so many allergies with any scented product, but did well using my friend’s hand soap and the shower gel from Bath and Body Works. I loved the way my skin felt and the smell didn’t give me a headache. I don’t know if she had an older bottle or what, but not only is it triclosan city, my much-anticipated box from B&BW smelled like a magazine sample of fragrance. You know the one, they all smell the same, just default “perfume”. I just hope i can get my money back.

    Really disappointing that anyone is still using this toxic crud! They have to know – i’ll never believe they just never heard of any of the research. Ugh. My chocolate/cinnamon all-natural soap from Etsy smells great but leaves my hands dry & not feeling clean, and now this product gives me a perfume headache and is chock full of carcinogens. :( I’m exhausted, looking for just a SOAP that i can use.

    • Krystal says:

      I hear ya! Try Alaffia! Their products are organic and fair trade. Most of them have shea which is so moisturizing. I love their stuff!

  3. K Jean says:

    So, it is ok to put it in our mouth but not ok to wash our hands with it because it gets washed down the drain and in to the environment. I agree that we have to keep our environmnet safe but if it is in toothpaste shouldn’t that be the first product we get it taken out of before handsoap?

  4. Paula Tidu says:

    If bath and body work don’t take triclosan out the soaps I will stop using them!

  5. Evie Dawson says:

    Bath & Body Works should respond to the concern. Triclosan has poisonous to aquatic life, has also polluted lakes and rivers.

  6. Dixie Oyler says:

    I am going to look at all my recent purchases from Bath and body works and if anything contains triclosan or Cocoamide DEA (causes cancer) I am returning them and won’t be shopping there anymore.

  7. V says:

    Triclosan was removed from the hand soaps in January 2014.

  8. J McKersie says:

    I would lik e to know if the expholiants in hand you hand soap products contain plastic bead that are extremely harmful the aquatic life?

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