Published On: Tue, Jun 6th, 2017

Eliminating Triclosan To Remain At Least 10% Human

Looking for a book to read the other day, I decided to go off the beaten path, onto a path I’ve been down before.  I wanted to get a book not about some country’s history, a memoir about a hyper-successful individual, or a novel based on time travel.  Instead, I got 10% Human: How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but anytime I can get halfway through a book in a day or two, that says something.

I read in the past stuff about the torture we do to our bodies from what we eat.  From gluten, to should we have a high fat diet or no carb diet, to how processed foods are barely food anymore.  And I’ve always been intrigued and horrified by what I’ve read.  I can’t say it has made me into a vegan, but it has always chipped away bit by bit on what I eat.

Now, I don’t necessarily eat healthy, especially with my lifestyle of working late and getting home so late that I don’t feel like cooking so I grab a bite of garbage on the way home.  And UberEats hasn’t made it less hard to just order something probably high in everything I know not to eat.  But, like most people, I do want to eat healthier, cleaner, and be more conscience of what I put in my body.

OK, moving on.  The book is about the microbes in our body.  There’s a huge focus on the organisms that call our gut home.  The sheer volume of microbes outnumber our genes so significantly, we’re almost more microbe than human; hence, the title 10% Human.

The information in the book is so dense, scientific though in layman’s language, and exhaustively extensive, I’m not even going to try to sum it up or write a review other than to say I would recommend it to anyone who cares about their health.  There’s a huge focus on antibiotics and the positives they have brought to mankind, but also the slow-churning hugely degenerative nature of antibiotics on the human body.

It’s mind-blowing!

The author, Alanna Collen, has done an awe-inspiring job being fair yet getting her point across.  There’s an obvious angle she’s going for, but she doesn’t shove it down your throat.  Her arguments and viewpoints are so backed by facts, studies and common sense that it’s hard to not be convinced that what she’s saying will be obvious givens in the next generation.

Being me, though, curious as to what the internet has to say about some of the stuff she writes, I did a quick Google search about triclosan.  Keeping it simple, triclosan is an ingredient added to many products to make them antibacterial.  There are probably several products I use that have it in it, but for sure, looking at a list of products that contain it, the shaving cream I use to shave my head is on the list.  And I’ve been using it for close to two decades.

Anyway, the internet is the wild wild west when it comes to factual information.  There are doctor’s vanity websites that confirm triclosan is bad for you, but I have a hard time being convinced by any website where the person is the brand.  I mean, how popular is the person whose website says everything is okay, just live your life as is?

But, then, I checked the FDA’s website.  I’ve always had issues with the FDA which seems to always say this product might not be safe, but we can’t tell if it’s dangerous.  I could’ve said that without spending millions in tax dollars.  Make a decision already.

When it comes to triclosan, the FDA doesn’t outright say it’s bad for you, but in a passive-aggressive way, it didn’t do it any favors.  In a report issued about 8 months ago, the FDA does come out and say that when washing your hands, plain soap and water is sufficient; no need for antibacterial soaps.  As usual, they say that there’s no proof that antibacterial soaps are harmful, but there’s no evidence that it has any added benefits over soap and water.

But then, they go on, and triclosan takes center stage.

In addition, laboratory studies have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Some data shows this resistance may have a significant impact on the effectiveness of medical treatments, such as antibiotics.

Think about it.  The FDA is saying that studies say there’s a possibility that triclosan, which is the ingredient to make products antibacterial, may be aiding the bacterium in becoming immune to antibiotics.  Like triclosan.

And in 10% Human, antibiotics are methodically shown to instigate more harm to the body than good.  It’s not that the antibiotics are doing the harm; they’re just making it easier for harmful bacteria to do its harm, get this, by also destroying the good bacteria and disrupting the balance needed for a healthy body.

Again, I’m bad at book reviews.  And regurgitating other people’s words.  Just buy the book.

In the meantime I’m going to go on a triclosan hunt, looking for what products we have in the home, and see if I can reduce the number of products, if not eliminate them, if for no other reason, but for the same reason why people buy antibacterial soaps even when told the soaps don’t really help — better safe than sorry.

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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