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Widely Used Antibacterial Chemical May Impair Muscle Function

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the it-wasn't-me,-it-was-the-one-armed-antibacterial-chemical dept.

Medicine 252

New submitter daleallan writes "Triclosan, which is widely used in consumer handsoaps, toothpaste, clothes, carpets and trash bags, impairs muscle function in animal studies, say researchers at UC Davis (abstract). It slows swimming in fish and reduces muscle strength in mice. It may even impair the ability of heart muscle cells to contract. The chemical is in everyone's home and pervasive in the environment, the lead researcher says. One million pounds of Triclosan is produced in the U.S. annually and it's found in waterways, fish, dolphins, human urine, blood and breast milk. The researchers say their findings 'Call for a dramatic reduction in use.' It's in my Colgate Total toothpaste, and in fact, preventing gingivitis is the only use that may be worthwhile, although this makes me think twice about continuing to brush with it." This isn't the first time Triclosan has been in the news over safety concerns.

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252 comments

Who would have thought... (5, Funny)

korgitser (1809018) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994687)

... that a substance used to harm life would harm life?

Re:Who would have thought... (5, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994775)

there's lots of things which harm only some kinds of life.

Your eyes are protected by Lysozyme: enzymes which attack bacteria but it doesn't harm your eyes.

Lots of things are harmful to one organism and not another: Theobromine is deadly to dogs but fairly harmless to us except in extreme quantities because we have enzymes which can handle it.

Oxygen will kill many types of bacteria but we need it to live.

Many anti-bacterials are simply far far far less toxic to us than to bacteria so it's not that surprising but it makes an awful rule of thumb.

Can't stand your neighbor's dog yepping ? (0, Offtopic)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994789)

Theobromine is deadly to dogs but fairly harmless to us

 
Your neighbor's chihuahua yelping all day (and all night ) long?
 
Losing sleep because of the inconsiderate neighbor letting that little bitch yelping non-stop?
 
Well ... do the dog and yourself a favor - feed the dog lots and lots of delicious chocolate
 

Re:Who would have thought... (1, Interesting)

rvw (755107) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995005)

there's lots of things which harm only some kinds of life.

.....

Lots of things are harmful to one organism and not another.

Take Arsenic. We know it as a deadly poison. We all eat or drink a few micrograms of arsenic each day. If you take that away and make 100% free arsenic food, test that on rats, it turns out that they die more quickly. Is this the same for humans? Nobody knows that, but this is the same with most food research. So let's assume that it works the same for humans.

It simply shows that like most things, too little is not good, too much neither. Drink four liters of water each day, and you will probably die.

Re:Who would have thought... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995079)

Hmm, I drink just a touch over 4for liters of water every day...

Re:Who would have thought... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995067)

Actually, we need nitrogen more than oxygen.

Oxygen is toxic to us.

Re:Who would have thought... (5, Funny)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995141)

Atomic oxygen is: fortunatly we have the enzyme Catalase in our cells to turn hydrogen peroxide into O2 and water rather than Atomic oxygen and water.

Tell you what: I'll sit in a chamber filled with 100% pure oxygen for an hour and you do the same in a chamber filled with 100% pure nitrogen then we compare notes.

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995369)

GP will die of suffocation, rather unpleasant, but not nearly as unpleasant as being immolated in pure O2

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995401)

I dunno. A slow death from suffocation sounds MUCH worse than a rapid death by a pure O2 fed fire. Not that either would be pleasant, but if I HAD to choose, I'd rather have it over quickly.

Although likely he wouldn't immolate. But his cig would burn REALLY fast. And the flame from that lighter? WOW!

Re:Who would have thought... (2, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995439)

Death in 100% N2 would be via hypoxia - rather pleasant....

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995621)

Yup, researchers of a more humane execution method found that a mixture of nitrogen and argon is the most painless and least fear-inducing execution method. You feel drunk, then you pass out, then you die. It's used to kill pigs for slaughter.

Evolution (1, Interesting)

spectrokid (660550) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995359)

Yes, but if triclosan is such a miracle product, why aren't our bodies producing it naturally? Maybe because evolution showed there were some downsides?

Re:Evolution (2, Informative)

d3ac0n (715594) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995547)

One could say the same thing about MANY things that our lives depend on. Oxygen, water, amino acids, etc. Just because our bodies don't make it doesn't make it automatically harmful.

I, for one, would like to see the concentrations of Triclosan used in this study compared against the average exposure concentration "in the wild".

From the Abstract:

TCS acutely depresses hemodynamics and grip strength in mice at doses ~12.5 mg/kg i.p., and a concentration ~0.52 uM in water compromises swimming performance in larval fathead minnow.

Now, I am not a scientist, but shouldn't the second measurement be listed in ppm, not micrometers? I mean, who cares how many micrometers they put into the water if we don't know how much water they used? 0.52uM is a HUGE amount when mixed with an equal amount of water. it's nothing in a bathtub.

Can a scientist type person please clarify this for the less-sciency of us?

(Note: I had to change some of the symbols so that they would output clearly on /. the "~" replaces the stacked ">_" and the u replaces the greek symbol for "micro".)

Re:Evolution (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995615)

the M in 0.52 uM is 1 mol/L so 0.52 umol/L :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molar_concentration

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995651)

Isn't it micromoles?

Re:Who would have thought... (3, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994777)

At least it has been banned from being used in the food industry! (Yes, it was used in plastics that came into direct contact with our own food until 2010).

http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=3574 [beyondpesticides.org]

Re:Who would have thought... (4, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994813)

Currently, you can make any products with new chemicals until they are banned. Should it be the burden of companies to prove that chemicals are safe before they can sell products?

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994869)

Everything is a chemical.

You can't prove a negative.

And everything is toxic in the right quantity, including water and oxygen.

Re:Who would have thought... (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994921)

You can't prove a negative.

Yeah you can, by exhausting the search space.

Of course, we're not talking about "proof" here in the pure mathematical "exhaustive" sense, but in the statistical confidence sense, and more specifically, in requiring a basic set of health/environmental impact studies before a new chemical can be used. Which just seems like common sense. If one is worried about that being too onerous, then the burden could be varied depending on how similar they are to existing chemicals which have gone through the full battery of health studies.

Re:Who would have thought... (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994927)

You can't prove a negative

No, but you can demonstrate you meet minimum standards, such as a pre-defined maximum level of plutonium in your baby food.

Re:Who would have thought... (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995059)

Hey, I've been around Slashdot long enough to learn that plutonium in baby food is healthy for babies, and anyone who says otherwise is a socialist hippie bent on destroying the global economy. ;)

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

cbope (130292) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994961)

Well, perhaps if a chemical is *new*... you should first understand the risks and dangers of an unknown chemical before you start putting it into consumer products?

It *IS* the burden for companies to produce safe products that are not dangerous to the people using them when used as designed. Especially when it is something we put in or on our bodies that can negatively affect health.

Re:Who would have thought... (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995001)

It should be the burden of companies to ensure that their products are safe. The fact that concerns have been raised about this chemical and no action has been taken means that the burden is very much on companies now.

Re:Who would have thought... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995649)

Isn't that how it works in the EU now? It's called the precautionary principle. You don't actually have to prove that they're safe of course, you only have to prove that they're not very harmful. A lot of substances were simply slapped on the list of safe items based on historical use, but a lot weren't, too.

Re:Who would have thought... (5, Insightful)

David Hume (200499) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995179)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of The Black Swan [amazon.com] and Fooled by Randomness [amazon.com], has a book chapter coming out that addresses this danger. Prof. Teleb's draft chapter on Medicine, Convexity, and Opacity [fooledbyrandomness.com] from his upcoming book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder [amazon.com], can be found at:

http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/medicine.pdf [fooledbyrandomness.com]

While the entire chapter is worth a read, at page 389 he observes:

The “do you have evidence” fallacy, mistaking evidence of no harm for no evidence of harm, is similar to the one of misinterpreting NED (no evidence of disease) for evidence of no disease. This is the same error as mistaking absence of evidence for evidence of absence, the one that tends to affect smart and educated people, as if education made people more confirmatory in their responses and more liable to fall into simple logical errors.

That may have been the case here. That is, for years no evidence of harm was mistaken for evidence of no harm.

More generally, Prof. Taleb argues at page 376:

Simple, quite simple decision rules and heuristics emerge from this chapter. Via negativa, of course (by removal of the unnatural): resort to medical techniques when the health payoff is very large (say, saving a life) and visibly exceeds its potential harm, such as incontrovertibly needed surgery or lifesaving medicine (penicillin). It is the same as with government intervention. This is squarely Thalesian, not Aristotelian (that is, decision making based on payoffs, not knowledge). For in these cases medicine has positive asymmetries —convexity effects— and the outcome will be less likely to produce fragility. Otherwise, in situations in which the benefits of a particular medicine, procedure, or nutritional or lifestyle modification appear small—say, those aiming for comfort—we have a large potential sucker problem (hence putting us on the wrong side of convexity effects).

Triclosan is not the only drug found in waterways (5, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994695)

Need to stress this, Triclosan is not the only drug found in waterways

A lot of other substances that human being are using ended up in waterways and they are having all types of side effects on ecology around us

I read an article about 10 years ago that nano-silver particles that we human are using - to kill bacteria, -somehow entered the waterways and end up killing a lot of microbial lifeforms, and the chain reaction (according to the articles that i read, can't find the links to them anymore, sorry) was worrying
 

Re:Triclosan is not the only drug found in waterwa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995631)

Need to stress this, Triclosan is not the only drug found in waterways

Stress it for the terminally oblivious anyways. Anybody who has been paying even a minimal amount of attention for the past couple of decades would have heard mention of prescription and non-prescription drugs and compounds being present in waterways and bodies of water.

Or maybe it's just me being an information sponge.

Re:Triclosan is not the only drug found in waterwa (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995691)

I read an article about 10 years ago that nano-silver particles that we human are using - to kill bacteria, -somehow entered the waterways and end up killing a lot of microbial lifeforms, and the chain reaction (according to the articles that i read, can't find the links to them anymore, sorry) was worrying

The oligodynamic effect [wikimedia.org] is one of the mechanisms by which metals such as silver and copper kill some microorganisms. A benefit in the applications of doorknobs, silverware and copper plumbing; not so much in washing machines and dishwashers that exploit the effect, if what you say is true.

Human consumption of solutions containing colloidal silver (as done in homeopathy) causes an irreversible cosmetic condition, argyria [wikimedia.org], in which the patient's skin turns a sliver-blue color.

Niggermania IS NOT racist!!! please read (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994699)

http://www.50cent.com/forum/default.aspx?cid=189&tid=45425

I am going to say this to everyone one last time.

Niggermania is about niggers.

Effectively immediately any post containing anti-jewish remarks will be deleted.

Niggermania is about niggers, bashing niggers and making fun of niggers while spreading the word of world wide TNB. That is what we do and all we do.

Niggermania isn't here to solve the worlds problems, we are not here as a white power or even a racist site. Niggermania exists to make fun of niggers.

There are three webmassa's on niggermania and without identifying anyone's particular view or biases let me say all three of us have differing views on the question of Jews in the world. It doesn't matter what these views are we have collectively decided that if we want to voice our individual views we are free to do so at any one of the numerous sites that allow and welcome such comments.

I know many, and one is an equal partner and webmassa at niggermania, that hold the view "to get to the bottom of the nigger problem you must eventually address the jewish problem". Seems a somewhat popular concept and while I won't allow myself to be drawn into a debate about the merits of the particular argument let me me say it this way; I don't care.

Even though the three webmassa's and niggerbeaters have differing views on the subject all three are in total agreement we do not want "The Jewish Question" discussed on niggermania.

Niggermania is about niggers it isn't about Jews, Indians, Orientals or race in general we are about niggers and I would appreciate it if we can all refrain from discussing the subject here.

All three webmassas agree such an off-topic discussion takes the spotlight off niggers and TNB.

So where to go? Might I suggest FCC? http://bbs.whofailedtoday.com/viewforum.php?id=3

FCC is my second most favorite forum it's free, no censorship, Jews, Indians or anyone else is free to voice whatever they want and you don't even have to register to post, you can post anonymously as a dot.

If you want to discuss other issues with Raptorman I would urge you to sign up there but let's all leave niggermania about niggers.

Thank you.

Note to moderators: Immediately remove any and all threads hinting at anti-jewish sentiments they do not belong on niggermania.

Thank you.

And this children ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994745)

... is how you put a competitor out of business.

Re:And this children ... (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995197)

... is how you put a competitor out of business.

Slip a little Triclosan into their vodka?

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (-1, Troll)

djl4570 (801529) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994763)

I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you to hear that there's a chemical with unintended side effects.

What was the dose? (5, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994769)

I can certainly dose any given collection of animals with nearly any given chemical in a fashion that will kill them (either quickly or slowly, depending on the particular substance.) I can also dose them with an utterly harmless dose of the most toxic and horrible poisons known to mankind and the animal will live. This applicable to everything from water or oxygen to nasty organic or radiologic stuff.

In the end, it all comes down to the dose. Was the dose these animals were given at all representative of the dosing received by a person using triclosan-based products? (Or animals absorbing triclosan in the environment?) Would have been nice if that press release had mentioned it. Since it didn't, I can guess that the dose is utterly ridiculous.

Re:What was the dose? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994825)

I've only had a quick scan through the article, but near the end it explicitly says:

Our acute in vivo experiments were aimed at understanding mechanisms and potential risks, and therefore used an intraperitoneal route of exposure. However, the exposures tested here produced (triclosan) blood plasma concentrations consistent with levels found in some humans.

So if I'm reading that right, the potential health risk depends on exactly who those "some humans" were, and if they were people who generally used triclosan products or if they were people injected with the stuff, which isn't really made clear.

It also notes that triclosan *is* metabolised in the human body, but exactly how seems to be a bit murky. There's also a note that 95% of the compound seems to be bound by serum protein in blood, but their "results demonstrated that TCS disrupts skeletal (excitation–contraction coupling) even in the presence of excess serum protein".

How do I access the paper? (1)

sirwired (27582) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994899)

I looked, and maybe I'm blind, but I don't see any way to access the full paper (without a subscription or special request) and the linked article has no such sentence in it.

Re:How do I access the paper? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995345)

Many /.'ers have affiliations with universities that have subscriptions, allowing them to read full science articles when they go to the same journal site you do.

 

Re:What was the dose? (5, Informative)

CSMoran (1577071) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994849)

If you click to read the abstract (I know, bad etiquette), you'll find that it

acutely depresses hemodynamics and grip strength in mice at doses 12.5 mg/kg

Re:What was the dose? (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994879)

Huh. So an adult male would have to eat like a kilogram of the stuff?

One toothpaste label reports 0.3% triclosan.

That's 0.5g of triclosan per tube.
So to hurt myself I'd have to *eat* almost 2000 tubes of toothpaste?

Re:What was the dose? (2)

TheLink (130905) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994917)

No. 80 kg * 12.5mg/kg = 1 gram. Not 1 kg.

So you would have to eat about 2 x 160g tubes of toothpaste.

There might be other stuff in toothpaste that would kill you first.

Re:What was the dose? (2)

Derek Pomery (2028) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994923)

Ugh. That's what I get for trying to do math on just waking up.

mg, not g.
Sooo, 2 tubes of toothpaste.
That's still a hell of a lot of toothpaste :)

Given I normally don't swallow any.
Hm. But let's say there's a kid out there who gets into the toothpaste.

If a small kid ate an entire tube, it'd be time to call poison control and induce vomiting from the sounds of it.

Re:What was the dose? (5, Informative)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994955)

You should URGENTLY call poisons information if someone eats significant amounts of toothpaste. The Fluoride can and has killed people.

Re:What was the dose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995609)

Yeah, but on the upside their autopsy photos had a lovely white smile

Re:What was the dose? (5, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994983)

"If a small kid ate an entire tube, it'd be time to call poison control and induce vomiting from the sounds of it."

Which you'd already have to do since most toothpaste contains Fluoride which, in addition to ruining the purity of our essence, isn't the healthiest stuff on earth to begin with.

Worrying about triclosan in toothpaste is a bit like worrying about the mercury content of your cyanide.

Re:What was the dose? (1)

sheepe2004 (1029824) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994967)

No. Assuming a person is 70kg and 0.5g per tube:
(70*12.5e-3)/0.5 = 1.75

But for a child it's more like half a tube of toothpaste...

Hmm... I missed that, but it appears to be high (5, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994881)

12.5 mg/kg! Holy cow! This is ridiculously in excess of any conceivable dose of Triclosan you could get unless you are an utterly unprotected employee of a Triclosan-using factory.

Re:Hmm... I missed that, but it appears to be high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995165)

Indeed. But what are the long term effects? We already know that Aspartame has issues...even at "human safe" doses of the stuff.

You're focusing on the LD50 levels, but there's a lot of stuff that's problematic at non-lethal doses. BPA's another example of this. While I'm not going to say yank it off the shelves- we should be asking ourselves if it's a wise thing to have in our environment like this...

I dunno (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995297)

This is ridiculously in excess of any conceivable dose of Triclosan you could get unless you are an utterly unprotected employee of a Triclosan-using factory.

I bet doctors and nurses in swamped urban ERs could get close.

Re:What was the dose? (2)

sheepe2004 (1029824) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994889)

From the (free to view) abstract:

TCS acutely depresses hemodynamics and grip strength in mice at doses 12.5 mg/kg i.p., and a concentration 0.52 M in water compromises swimming performance in larval fathead minnow.

From the paper itself (pg. 5)

Typical routes of exposure to TCS (oral, dermal) are sufcient in bringing the compound into systemic circulation (38, 39). Importantly, one study reported plasma Cmax of nearly 1 M within 1–3 h after administering a 4-mg oral dose in human subjects (38).

So the doses used could quite possibly be meaningful, I'm no biologist though...

Re:What was the dose? (1)

greyblack (1148533) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994937)

From TFA:

The investigators performed several experiments to evaluate the effects of triclosan on muscle activity, using doses similar to those that people and animals may be exposed to during everyday life.

Re:What was the dose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995363)

indeed, many humans die every year due to overdose of the otherwise harmless chemical dihydrogen monoxide.

been noticing that I drop things more lately (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994795)

Thought it was just age (and, yes, it still could be; I'm not diabetic, so it isn't neuropathy), but my wife insists on using stuff with that in it, and it's damned hard to avoid in normal grocery/department stores.

I'm gonna try harder, now, though.

Suggestions?

Re:been noticing that I drop things more lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994845)

Suggestions?

The causal link between your dropping things and triclosan exists only in your mind. You have no proof whatsoever that this is the cause.
Also, diabetes is not the only cause of neuropathy.

Re:been noticing that I drop things more lately (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994893)

If this is a serious problem, consult a doctor.

However, I've noticed in the past that I tend to drop things when I'm unenthusiastic, distracted, depressed or whatever. You need to put energy into focusing on what you're currently doing.

Re:been noticing that I drop things more lately (3, Insightful)

mutube (981006) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994913)

Suggestions?

Stop making life decisions based on limited evidence.

Re:been noticing that I drop things more lately (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994975)

Indeed. There is, however, strong evidence that gum disease is linked to heart disease (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215184308.htm). None of this is as risky as stress however, so stop worrying and get on with your life, if you try to do every little thing you can to "improve your chances" then you'll probably have the opposite effect.

Women tend to be obsessive about sanitation (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995021)

No idea why. Its mostly women that the utter nonsense known as toilet cleaner is marketed to. Why do I care if there are no bacteria in my toilet? I don't drink out of it , I piss and crap in it. And as soon anyone does that its full of bacteria again so why do I want to spend $$$ on some blue coloured gunk (thats probably a pollutant) to kill the bacteria??

Re:Women tend to be obsessive about sanitation (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995087)

Indeed, it's probably cleaner than your keyboard - your keyboard is not made of impervious porcelain and regularly flushed with copious amounts of water. It's made of attractively textured plastic (lots of little niches for bacteria to thrive) and regularly touched by human hands (lots of food for bacteria to eat, skin, grease, etc).

The flush toilet is a horrendously inefficient use of water anyway. 40% of our domestic water use is flushing the toilet, which is a staggering waste of potable water in an era where there is a shortage of water.

Re:been noticing that I drop things more lately (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995173)

It is a sad day, but our low UID forebearers are going senile. I guess it was only a matter of time.

Re:been noticing that I drop things more lately (1)

Mr Foobar (11230) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995415)

"but our low UID forebearers are going senile

Hey, you young bucks, get the hell off my lawn!

Re:been noticing that I drop things more lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995229)

Dropping things can also be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome, though you would typically have symptoms of numbness and sometimes pain. And there are other possibilities too.

We're flushing away the ecology (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994801)

We are just begiining to realize how all these medications and chemicals that are poured down the sink and flushed into our planet's oceans and waterways affect our ecology. We are starting to see the effects on the wildlife. Frogs are disappearing at alarming rates because of these chemicals, and their habitats being destroyed.

Re:We're flushing away the ecology (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995237)

I wasn't aware that Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was a chemical.

It's just random use of antibiotics. (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994839)

I never understood the whole "antibacterial" hype. If you broadly and indiscriminately use an antibiotic (and if it is antibacterial, it is an antibiotic per definitionem), all you get are strains of immune bacteria. I am pretty sure that in the average american household, there are more bacteria immune to Triclosan per cubic feet than New York has inhabitants.

Re:It's just random use of antibiotics. (3, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994999)

Your immune system needs exposure to bacteria in order to stay strong. If you are always using anti-bacterial lotions and wipes, your white bloods cells can 'forget' how to fight off infection. Some of the healthiest guys are sewer workers, they rarely take a sick day, because their immune systemsare so strong, since they are constantly fighting off bacteria.

Re:It's just random use of antibiotics. (5, Funny)

12WTF$ (979066) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995129)

Some of the healthiest guys are sewer workers, they rarely take a sick day, because their immune systemsare so strong, since they are constantly fighting off bacteria.

But their breath is knock down nasty and their farts are room clearing because sewage workers' internal bio flora has a larger population of anaerobic and methanogenic bacteria. Apart from that they are really nice guys.

Re:It's just random use of antibiotics. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995235)

I never understood the whole "antibacterial" hype.

Chant mar-ke-ting over and over real slowly, and soon enlightenment will descend upon you.

I was on an areoplane Monday, and the lady that plopped down beside me immediately whipped out some kind of sanitary wipe and started cleaning the food tray and the back of the seat in front of her.

Look at the dosing! (5, Insightful)

sowalsky (142308) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994857)

The experiments in mice were performed at 12.5mg/kg, which would be (for the average 65-kg human) a shocking 812.5mg of Triclosan. If your standard amount of handsoap and toothpaste is 2ml that's like brushing your teeth with a 1/3 solution of triclosan and swallowing it.

Like most of the research in PNAS this was not subjected to the high level of peer review expected in most scholarly journals and this paper got through without regard to its relevance and real-world significance.

At a high enough dose, caffeine causes cancer in lab animals. But not at the doses even Slashdotters consume.

Re:Look at the dosing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995061)

But not at the doses even Slashdotters consume.

You can only speak for yourself.

Re:Look at the dosing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995091)

Some toothpaste, some of that, some more of this, it all adds up, even if its only small amounts. And that Sometimes several times a day, everyday, over and over again.

Re:Look at the dosing! (1)

WillerZ (814133) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995099)

You are probably right; however it does depend on how rapidly it is broken down and excreted by the body. If it is never got rid of, then this test is using a massive under-dose (from my point of view), since I have certainly swallowed 2 tubes-worth of Colgate Total over the course of my life.

If it is eliminated in 12 hours it is a huge over-dose as you say. Somewhere in between these points is an elimination-rate which makes this number entirely appropriate.

does it really affect people adversely? (5, Interesting)

MassiveForces (991813) | about a year and a half ago | (#40994935)

For one thing, its reversible. Wears off after 60 mins in mice at the dose they were using. Hey that might even mean less free radicals which cause aging. Second, humans aren't going to notice the effects at the doses they receive, otherwise we would have seen it in factory workers that produce triclosan already. So nobody should be alarmed at least, unless maybe it impairs salmon swimming upstream to reproduce.

pl0s 1, Troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40994959)

are almost don't be afraid FreeBSD's task. Research progress. In ;1992, ASSOCIATION OF yes, I work for Can connect to

stop using it please (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995049)

It has been known for decades that household use of antibacterial soaps creates immune bacteria that are causing major problems for hospitals. There is no reason for it [youtube.com], but it takes a new study that shows you are not just fucking shit up for everyone, you are fucking your own shit up too. Now people will stop, selfishness rules.

Toothpaste versus garbage bags (1)

snsh (968808) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995089)

I doubt many people will really miss the use of Triclosan in things like garbage bags and carpet, but toothpaste is a different story. Dental hygiene seems to me to be the one application where you're better off using wide-spectrum antibiotics all the time. Everyone is born with one set of teeth (yes you could argue two), and you'd like all those teeth to last your lifetime.

Rubbish (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995111)

"Dental hygiene seems to me to be the one application where you're better off using wide-spectrum antibiotics all the time"

Nonsense. Tooth decay is only caused by a small subset of bacteria and most of them are removed by physical brushing. The only use for the toothpaste is mainly for the flouride. There are thousands of different types of bacteria in the human mouth and no one knows if any of them are useful to our health as the ones in our guts and on our skin are. Just killing the lot of them every day is probably foolish.

Re:Rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995191)

Not to mention that Listerine seems to manage... WITHOUT TRICLOSAN ...and do it for years before the stuff having been discovered.

Re:Rubbish (1)

metacell (523607) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995209)

I agree. The two most important things for keeping your teeth healty, is regular, physical cleaning (brushing and dental sticks) and fluoride.

A lot of bacteria live in symbiosis with the human body, for example, in the digestive system.

Re:Rubbish (1)

snsh (968808) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995215)

Then you might be pleasantly surprised by Colgate Total.

Try this: brush your teeth with ordinary toothpaste (fluoride + abrasive + surfactant), eat a jelly donut, wait two hours, and then check the plaque on your teeth. Then repeat the process with Colgate Total toothpaste (+= triclosan + glue). Huge difference.

Granted there are unknown unknowns about the potential benefits of the flora in your mouth, but the known knowns about the damage done by the flora to your teeth is pretty well known. Until they figure out how regrow teeth or invent plaque-scrubbing nanites, keeping your mouth as sterile as you can is probably a good bet.

Re:Rubbish (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995575)

Do you for Colgates PR dept or something? I've managed for 43 years without using it and I still have all my teeth. Besides that, people who have a low sugar diet have very little decay because there's little for the bacteria to eat. Perhaps advocating a sane diet instead of the over sweetened gunk we eat in the west would be a better approach.

Re:Toothpaste versus garbage bags (1)

ballpoint (192660) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995203)

Read the post above yours. Broad spectrum antibiotics indiscriminately kill innocent bacteria that are competing with the baddies for nutrients in your oral cavity. Keep things clean without creating a wasteland.

Re:Toothpaste versus garbage bags (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995303)

Your teeth would last you a lifetime if you just didn't eat garbage.

My Great Grandmother died at 84 years of age with all of her teeth, white as could be. 100% Cherokee, she didn't eat the crap we eat from the grocery store today - and she brushed her teeth daily with whittled roots from Sassafras.

Americans in particular eat some really strange stuff. Go to the store and look for things without gluten and high fructose corn syrup. There are some, but in general - good luck.

Ask any veterinarian how easy it is to tell a dog that eats healthy from one that gets table scraps. They'll go to two things that show it right away, 1) The dog is fat, 2) rotten teeth.

I had a 9 year old doberman/rottweiler mix that had all her teeth when she died - AND that stupid dog just loved the hell out of chewing on some rocks and even metal stuff, too. There was not a gutter drain on my house that she hadn't torn to shreds as high as she could stand. If you left a spoon out, she'd chew it to bits. She never got table scraps or anything other than grain-free dog foods.

In contrast, my parents have a 5 year old yellow lab that is so fat he can't hardly walk - and sure enough, his teeth are rotting out of his face. They feed him not just table scraps - but they will literally buy him a burger when they're out and bring it home for him. Stupid.

Patent expired ??? (1)

ballpoint (192660) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995171)

I've been trying to convince my wife to stop buying hand wash containing bactericidals and instead just try to keep everything clean with common products.

That said, I would not be amazed if some patent related to triclosan is due to expire. An excellent time for alarm and to push a new, supposedly less harmful, more expensive freshly patented replacement.

Re:Patent expired ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995515)

2900+ patents [csun.edu] use or refer to triclosan. It's not as simple as you propose, but plausible.

Was It In the Homes of All Those American... (-1, Flamebait)

rally2xs (1093023) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995185)

...Olympians that just kicked the world's a** in London?

Re:Was It In the Homes of All Those American... (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995573)

You are being rather silly, there are a rather significant number of Americans, 600 million or so which is a rather large pool in which to find talented atheletes, compared with other countries where populations are smaller you would expect a larger proportion of medals.

http://www.medalspercapita.com/ [medalspercapita.com] is interesting when you break down medals against the population size you find the USA at 49th place and Ireland at 22nd and the UK at 23rd.

with Gold medals the USA rises to 28th place UK is 11th and Ireland is 23rd going by GDP USA was 66th

In terms of obesity the USA ranks No 1 http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_obe-health-obesity [nationmaster.com] 30.6%
followed by Mexico and the UK thou to be fair positions 2 - 9 only are relatively close 18 - 24%

Health wise thou you really don't want to be Mexican.

So more directly on topic you cannot compare the health and fitness of a nation just on the number of medals won. New Zealand seems to be one of the healthiest places to live if your white and English speaking.

Living a "safe" life. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995291)

So are there any "safe" chemicals that we can use?

Re:Living a "safe" life. (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995375)

This reminds me of a one-panel cartoon I saw years & years ago. There are two glum-looking scientists in lab coats surrounded by Bunsen burners and all kinds of test equipment. One is holding a beaker full of liquid and says to the other, "The final results are in. EVERYTHING causes cancer!"

Not in all European toothpastes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995317)

Check any tube of toothpaste from Colgate or Pepsodent sold in any European country, and you will not find Triclosan mentioned on any of them. This begs the question: why are the US citizens treated to this ingredient?

The question of how useful the ingredient actually is also comes up. We over here in Europe don't have this ingredient, and many of us also use "all natural" toothpastes, yet gingivitis is not one bit more common per capita here than with the US citizens. Same goes for fluorization of water - this has been abolished in most European countries long ago, and none of these countries have "cavity problems" larger per capita than the US where fluorization is still done.

Most of the chemicals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995637)

...and substances (85%) you come into contact with every day have never been tested for their effects on humans. Eighty-five percent of all chemicals have simply never been tested but are used with total disregard for your safety and health.

Worse than I thought (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#40995639)

And we worry about superbugs being created while we have this needless anti-bacterial in everything INCLUDING ourselves. (Did you catch the "it's in urine samples of over 75% of people over 5" bit?)

It is well known and has been for some time that to keep a healthy digestive system, we need certain types of bacteria. Has triclosan been cleared against not killing those important bacteria?

And what of the superbugs?!

I'm all for necessary use of antibiotics and antibacterials, but not for ongoing prophylactic use! It weakens the immune system and build stronger bugs.

This is making me sick...

Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40995683)

So instead of killing all the industrialists we just sit here choking on their filth as they drive the species to extinction?

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