chemical

Obsession with killing microorganisms is dangerous for humans and planet, scientist warns

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: microorganisms, medical myths, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
Ben and Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women
Cannabis kicks Lyme disease to the curb
Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)
Harvard research links fluoridated water to ADHD, mental disorders
Right to farm being stripped from Americans: Michigan to criminalize small family farms with chickens, goats, honey bees and more
Delicious
(NaturalNews) Using products with antimicrobial chemicals must be a great way to protect your health. After all, you're killing loads of germs while you wash your body and clean your house -- and that's a good thing, right? Not according to biologist and engineer Rolf Halden of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. In fact, he's sounding the alarm these commonly used chemicals aren't safe for human health and the environment. What's more, they don't even work better than plain soap and water.

The two most popular antimicrobial compounds, triclosan and triclocarban, are now a billion dollar a year industry and are found in a host of personal care products. Triclosan is added to plastic containers, toys and even clothing, too. First patented in l964 to kill germs before surgical procedures, the compound was pushed on consumers in the l980s when antimicrobials were hyped through massive marketing campaigns for "anti-germ" hand soaps. By 2001, a whopping 76 percent of all liquid soaps contained the chemical.

The trouble is, Halden pointed out in a press statement, these chemicals persist in the environment and in your body. Levels of triclosan in humans have soared by about 50 percent since 2004, according to newly updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And both triclosan and triclocarban are present in 60 percent of all rivers and streams nationwide.

And here's additional shocking news about the accumulation of these chemicals: antimicrobial chemicals now regularly show up in household dust where they may act as allergens. What's more, 97 percent of all U.S. women show detectable levels of triclosan in their breast milk.

So what are the exact health risks from these unnecessary chemical exposures? No one knows for sure. However, both triclosan and triclocarban have been linked to endocrine disruption, with potentially serious negative impacts on sexual and neurological development. Moreover, as these antimicrobial chemicals accumulate in the environment, they are interacting with microorganisms exposed to them and that increases the likelihood that a superbug will develop from this mix. Ironically, such an infectious agent would be resistant to the very antimicrobials developed to kill disease-causing germs -- and the consequences could be dire for human health.

While the EPA has claimed triclosan and triclocarban are eliminated from water during the treatment process, Halden noted that the EPA has come up with their "facts" from chemical industry-funded studies of wastewater treatment plant effluent. But these compounds, which contain benzene ring structures that have been chlorinated, are created in a way that is notoriously difficult to break down, according to Halden; the chemicals tend to stick to particles which decreases their availability for breakdown processes. That made Halden wonder if these compounds might actually still be present in the solid byproduct known as sewage sludge left over after wastewater treatment.

So his research group decided to test a large wastewater treatment plant serving 1.3 million people in the Mid Atlantic region of the U.S. in 2006. The scientists found that, indeed, the mass of triclocarban entering the wastewater treatment facility was simply moved from the water into the sludge. Additional tests have confirmed the accumulation of triclosan in sludge, too.

"We make 13 billion pounds of dry sludge per year," Halden said in a statement to the media. "That is equal to a railroad train filled with sludge stretching 750 miles from Phoenix to San Francisco."

And, unfortunately, about 50 percent of this sludge ends up on agricultural fields. The chemicals can then migrate into food or leach into groundwater. What's more, Halden pointed out it's likely that antimicrobials are capable of moving up the food chain, through a process known as biomagnification.

In recent studies published in Water Research and The Journal of Hazardous Materials, Halden and his research team documented that, based on a survey of 72 chemicals entering the wastewater treatment stream, triclosan and triclocarban account for two-thirds of the mass of all the antimicrobials in sludge. And massive bioaccumulation of these antimicrobial chemicals has now been documented in various species, including earthworms. A recent study found dolphins had accumulated triclosan in their bodies from contaminated coastal waters, too.

Halden noted the thresholds for killing microbes are much higher than those for life forms like algae, crustaceans and fish. "This explains why residual concentrations of antimicrobials found in aquatic environments are still sufficiently harmful to wipe out the small and sensitive crustaceans, which are critical to the aquatic life cycle and food web," Halden stated.

In 2005, the FDA asked an expert panel, which included Halden, to review all the available information on these chemicals. Their conclusion? Regular use of antimicrobial products by the general public was no more effective against disease causing germs than simply washing thoroughly with regular soap and water.

"The culture of fear leads people to make impulsive decisions and buy a lot of antimicrobial products that are not really needed," Halden says. "It's a profitable market to be in, but not one that is ultimately sustainable or a good idea."

For more information:
http://asunews.asu.edu/20101112_antimicrobia...

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.