Does it Work? - antibacterial soap making you fat?

04-11-2003, 03:37 PM
I recently read in a magazine article that triclosan (the main antibacterial ingredient in deodorant and antibactierial soap and some clearasil products) is absorbed by the skin and inhibits thyroid hormone production. Anyone else heard this? I have not been able to research any information that supports this idea. I am interested in hearing your views.

04-11-2003, 04:43 PM
*Sigh* Seems everything "makes you fat" nowdays:lol:

Seriously, I never heard of anything like that. To be honest, it sounds pretty strange and farfetched to me--but that is my honest opinion. :shrug:

04-11-2003, 06:20 PM
i have never heard that one either. it sounds kind of like the one that says that all shampoos and conditioners will give you scalp cancer and deodorant will give you armpit cancer. i think maybe "Pigpen" from the Charlie Brown cartoons is up to something :-)

04-11-2003, 08:13 PM
This could happen, but I seriously doubt it for being the main cause of obesity.

04-12-2003, 01:27 AM
I read this also, in First for women magazine. My first thought was yea, right!:smug: Then I thought, oh so that's why I am so fat, using antibacterial soap for all these years! :joker: I'm kidding of course, I know exactly why I am fat.

Here is what it says:

Dodge Antibacterial soaps and detergents

Triclosan, the key ingredient of these cleansers, promises to kill bugs on contact, but there's a snag: "Preliminary research suggests that when triclosan is absorbed through the skin, it suppresses the thyroid," says Scott Isaacs, M.D., author or Hormonal Balance (Bull Publishing 2002). "And when your thyroid isn't working at full speed, your metabolic rate drops, and fat-burning can slow dramatically."

There ya go, you learn something new everyday. Seems kind of farfetched to me, but that is JMHO.

04-12-2003, 02:42 AM
I dunno...Bull

"Preliminary research..." that is a pretty broad term, dontcha think...

Well, this is just my opinion, but until I see a bit more proof than a paragraph from First for Women's magazine by someone pushing his new book - whether he be a doctor or not - I'll just take my chances and keep using antibacterial soaps, and while I'm at it, still use toothpaste, since many of the best cavity-fighting brands contain, yup, Triclosan which has been proven in actual studies to be superior in fighting cavities than sodium fluoride...

Here's the Medline search link for those of you interested enough to pursue the 510 studies on file!

Have a great weekend :)

04-12-2003, 02:50 PM
MrsJim, when I was writing/typing that last night I never gave a thought to BULL Publications, hmmm...

04-12-2003, 07:35 PM
I agree with all of you. Just thought I'd get everyone's opinion, because I had never heard this claim before. Thanks for all your input!

04-12-2003, 07:43 PM
I just searched across the medical journals AND did a general search re: triclosan, and found nothing about this. The only thing that's hitting the presses is that antibacterial soaps can promote resistant bacteria--enough of a concern that many doctors prefer that their patients use regular soaps.

First for Women is notorious for providing poorly-backed health information :(

Suzanne 3FC
04-12-2003, 09:15 PM
Originally posted by BetsyBG
First for Women is notorious for providing poorly-backed health information :(

Yeah... but they recommended for weight loss support, so they can't be all bad :halffull:

04-13-2003, 03:10 PM
I can only imagine the serious consequences if one ate Ruffles while bathing and using Dial Antibaterial soap at the same time!!!


04-13-2003, 03:57 PM
Mindi... :lol: Wouldn't the chips get soggy?!?

Suzanne - I don't hold it against First for Women, but folks need to take whatever they read in magazines with a grain of salt - general women's periodicals need content - those little 'health blurbs' can quite often be overblown hoo-hah you know, and the magazines don't always research it. Also, a lot of content is advertising disguised as an article - like I said the guy is pushing a fairly recent book (published last year).

04-14-2003, 12:36 PM
Maybe if you sat in a vat of the stuff day and night. How much could you be absorbing when you wash each day - I don't use a bottle a day, do you?

04-14-2003, 03:37 PM
I had to say I have been getting the magazine First for Women for many, many years. It's one of the few magazines I love! I do take things with a grain of salt because that little tidbit seemed a bit far fetched to me. But the guy wasn't pushing his book, he was listed as their source of info. The article was actually called~Lose the weight-without the work and had about ten things listed and this was number four, it was just that short little paragraph. Some of the others made a lot of sense, tune out during commercials, pick a peck of pickles (talks about eating pickles instead of chips or pretzels), keep your ice cube tray stocked (about drinking water), avoid liquid calories, and hide the foods you are most likely to seek out. There were a few more. Of course we all know you can't lose weight unless you work at it!:)

04-16-2003, 02:29 PM
As well as First magazine, Women's World published a similar article.

But I was reasearching on line and found this very interesting article on


The latest rage in the arsenal of antibacterial chemicals, triclosan is included in detergents, dish soaps, laundry soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, creams, and toothpastes and mouthwashes. In 1998, Americans snatched up $540 million of these products, without proof that they even do what they claim.

But, is triclosan safe? The EPA registers it as a pesticide, giving it high scores as a risk to both human health and the environment. The USP recently proposed a new monograph for the specific testing of triclosan. It is a chlorinated aromatic, similar in molecular structure and chemical formula to some of the most toxic chemicals on earth: dioxins, PCB’s, and Agent Orange. Its manufacturing process may produce dioxin, a powerful hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects in the parts per trillion (one drop in 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools!). Hormone disruptors pose enormous long-term chronic health risks, because they interfere with the way hormones perform (such as changing genetic material, or fostering birth defects).

Triclosan is a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Externally, it can cause skin irritations, but since "….phenols can temporarily deactivate the sensory nerve endings….contact with [triclosan] often causes little or no pain". "Internally, it can lead to cold sweats, circulatory collapse, convulsions, coma, and even death". Stored in body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys, and lungs, and can cause paralysis, sterility, suppression of immune function, brain hemorrhage, decreased fertility and sexual function, heart problems, and coma."

Employing a strong antibiotic agent such as triclosan for everyday use is of questionable value, as it takes a shotgun approach to killing all microscopic organisms while also destroying the beneficial bacteria in the environment and in our bodies. These friendly bacteria cause no harm, and often produce beneficial effects, such as aiding metabolism and inhibiting the invasion of the harmful pathogens.

Boston-based microbiologist Laura McMurray and colleagues at the Tufts University School of Medicine, say that "triclosan is capable of forcing the emergency of ‘superbugs’ that it cannot kill. Experiments have shown that it may not be the all-out germ killer that scientists once thought it was….using triclosan daily in the home, in products ranging from children’s soaps to toothpaste to ‘germ-free’ cutting boards, may be unwise. In "New Products Feared Breeding Tougher Germs", J.B. Verrengia says "Public health officials have blamed the indiscriminate prescription of antibiotics for the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. The Tufts study suggests the recent widespread use of antibacterial agents in everyday products might have similar results". Doctors say that washing your hands with soap and water is the best preventative, and some doctors admit that including triclosan in the soap is an additional, unjustified expense; plain soap does just as well. "

04-16-2003, 02:35 PM
Found this article too.

"Copyright © 1999, 2001 by Galen Daryl Knight and VitaleTherapeutics, Inc.
Triclosan's Antagonism of Thyroxine and T3: Wilson's Syndrome?

Structural considerations and the following abstract raise concerns about Triclosan interfering with thyroid hormone metabolism in the body, thereby lowering body temperature, and producing a variety of metabolic imbalances associated with poor thyroid hormone utilization. Wilson's Syndrome, supposedly a new thyroid disorder, could very well have environmental causes.

THYROXINE--Thyroid Hormone

TRICLOSAN--Antibacterial added to soaps, dishwashing liquids, toothpastes, etc.

ACTIVATED THYROXINE or T3 (3,5,3'-Triiodothyronine)


J Toxicol Environ Health 1983 Aug-Sep;12(2-3):245-53
The acute toxicity of penta-, hexa-, and heptachlorohydroxydiphenyl ethers in mice.

Miller TL, Lorusso DJ, Walsh ML, Deinzer ML

The acute intraperitoneal LD50 values of various hydroxychlorodiphenyl ethers (HO-ClX-DPEs; X = 5-7) in mice have been determined. The acute toxicities observed were on the order of, or slightly less than, that observed previously for 2-hydroxy-2',4,4'-trichlorodiphenyl ether (2-HO-Cl3-DPE; Irgasan DP-300; Triclosan), a commonly used bactericide. However, the acute toxicities determined for these compounds were substantially less than have been observed for HO-Cl9-DPEs and pentachlorophenol. The HO-ClX-DPEs HAD A MARKED HYPOTHERMIC EFFECT, similar to that produced by 2-HO-Cl3-DPE. Symptomatology following exposure to the HO-ClX-DPEs (X = 5-7) suggested a NONSPECIFIC DEPRESSANT EFFECT on the central nervous system.

PMID: 6655733, UI: 84090302 "

04-26-2003, 03:10 PM
The literature is VERY clear that the results of animal models cannot be translated to human use of moderate amounts of Triclosan.

Bathing small rodents in massive amounts of a chemical cannot be compared to a human using a squirt of a soap that contains a low concentration of the substance, then rinsing it off.

And the studies related to HUMANS make this very, very clear.