Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bath & Body Works in the News

Have you seen this article or one like it discussing the pressure that's being put on Bath & Body Works to remove one of the ingredients in some of their antibacterial products? http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2011/07/21/Bath-and-Body-Works-Campaign-for-Safe-Cosmetics.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Batch and Body Works has never really been a favorite company of mine simply because of the ingredients they use, however, it's interesting to see them at the center of such publicized controversy.

The culprit causing all of the to-do is the ingredient triclosan. The article sites a quote from the Times:

“Scientific studies have linked triclosan to hormone disruption, which could be hazardous to teenagers whose bodies are still developing,”

It went on to quote:

"Studies show that triclosan is no more effective at preventing illness or removing germs than soap and water."

When it comes to antibacterial soaps, gels, etc. there's been a lot of discussion about the fact that too much antibacterial stuff in your life is quite literally too much and can lower your immune system. However, that doesn't seem to be the major complaint with triclosan.

I wanted to see what the FDA had to say regarding triclosan on their site. The FDA does not currently see triclosan as being harmful to humans right now. It seems as though while they acknowledge that there may be data showing that triclosan "alters hormone regulation in animals" the FDA goes on to say that animal reactions are not always exactly the same as human reactions. The site also states that the judgement on triclosan was made some time ago and new studies have been and are currently being performed. Interestingly, the FDA actually echoes one of the statements made by the Times:

"At this time, the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water." - taken from the FDA Consumer Update page for triclosan.

So while the FDA has approved triclosan for human use, does that mean we should take that at face value and ignore warning signs from other sources? That's really up to you. If the FDA and other organizations/sources are telling you that triclosan is no more effective than soap and water, and both say that there is evidence it may have adverse effects on animals and possibly humans, you need to determine if that's worth the risk. To me, it's not. I would rather either use soap and water or use a product like Purell (which has ethyl alcohol as its active ingredient).

Is triclosan another BPA type ingredient? One that many companies and countries refuse to use because the writing seems to be on the wall, yet the FDA is dragging its feet in reviewing it again seriously for a multitude of different reasons? Do you think Bath & Body Works should market a product towards teens that could potentially be harmful when other less-risky ingredients could be used instead?

I've posted a link to the FDA site on triclosan so that you can see info on it for yourself: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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