We’ve got some disturbing news. Researchers have reported that triclosan was found in the blood of bottlenose dolphins. This goes to show that the consequences of overusing a pesticide like triclosan are incredibly far-reaching and dangerous.
It is well known that marine mammals, forced to swim in polluted waters, become contaminated with persistent organic pollutants. Triclosan, an antibacterial compound commonly used in personal care products including hand soaps and dish detergent, has made its way down drain and into dolphins living in US coastal waters. The study, which appears in this month’s Environmental Pollution, examined dolphins from rivers, an estuary, a harbor and a lagoon in South Carolina and Florida. Blood samples from wild bottlenose dolphins found within an estuary in Charleston, South Carolina and in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida in 2005 were analyzed for triclosan. Triclosan was detected in 31 and 23 percent of the animals from the two sites.
As we wash our hands (or dishes, or clothing, etc.) with soaps containing triclosan, it eventually enters wastewater. While most harmful residue is removed during the treatment process, triclosan persists in waterways and is one of the most commonly found contaminants in river and estuary sediment downstream of treated water outfalls.
Next time you’re shopping, keep in mind the possible effects your choices have on the world. If we continue on the same irresponsible path, who knows what the effects of triclosan in our environment will be 10 or 20 years from now? And take a minute to educate your friends and family about this issue.
For more information about triclosan, read The Trouble with Triclosan.
Food & Water Watch is an organization dedicated to the belief that the public should be able to count on our government to oversee and protect the quality and safety of food and water. For more information, go to www.foodandwaterwatch.org.
By Kathy Dolan, Food & Water Watch