Is Bath and Body Works Selling Toxic Soap?
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?