Antibacterial Soap Weakens Heart and Muscle Function, Study Says

Antibacterial soap is the kind of household product that is so common we hardly question its presence in kitchens and bathrooms. We use it before preparing food, after using the bathroom, and to ensure we don’t catch our office neighbor’s nasty seasonal cold. But a new study suggests that a chemical used in many antibacterial products, triclosan, very quickly affects muscle functions in animals and fish.

In this study, led by Dr. Isaac Pessah of UC Davis, scientists introduced levels of triclosan to animals and fish that match what a typical human is exposed to in a normal day. The Telegraph reports that the study found muscle function and heart function were both noticeably reduced, and fish were unable to swim as well as they had prior to exposure to the chemical.

The scientists applied electrical stimulus to the test animals’ muscles after daily exposure to the chemical and found that their muscles did not immediately contract as they should have. Grip strength in mice sank by 18% after they were exposed to triclosan.

Anaesthetized mice were found to have a reduced heart function of up to 25 percent. Researchers said that triclosan, for all intents and purposes, worked as a serious cardiac depressant for the mice involved in the study. Perhaps the most startling aspect of this new research is that triclosan is found in all sorts of daily hygiene products, such as toothpaste, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, and even bedding.

The study has not been expanded to include triclosan’s effects on the human muscle and skeletal functions, but the new research has shown that the chemical likely has a huge impact on human muscle function, too, especially since it is in so many of our daily products. As Dr. Pessah told journalists, “These findings provide strong evidence that the chemical is of concern to both human and environmental health.” Unfortunately, we know that this chemical has been added to a myriad of household products on the current market and many of us have probably been exposed to a dangerous chemical for many months when everyone thought we were keeping the seasonal flu away.

For now, researchers have concluded that the risks of exposure to triclosan far outweigh any of the benefits. Since it has such powerful effects on muscle and skeletal structure, it acts as a type of drug and could be particularly harmful to those with heart problems alreday. I guess we will all think twice before using antibacterial soap so often every day.

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Photo Credit: Serenity


Sarah F.
Sarah F6 years ago

So they didnt bother with animal tests before putting this obviously dangerous chemical on the market to us?
Or they did the tests and nothing came up?
And now poor little mice and fish have suffered, they've presumably pulled this ingredient from being sold anywhere? Oh no they havent??

Rin S.
Rin S6 years ago

Hmm, interesting. Thanks.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder6 years ago

Good 'ol regular soap will clean you good enough.

Biby C.
Biby C6 years ago

Even without triclosan, anti-bacterial soaps/sanitizers are not good. I only use it when visiting the very sick so I don't pass the germs on to them.

Celine P.
CĂ©line P6 years ago

Thanks for the news

Lynn D.
Lynn D6 years ago

Wow! That's actually scarey! Thanks for informing us..............will have to pass along to friends!

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim6 years ago

It was proven that normal soap works as well as antibacterial soap. I don't even bother with the fancy stuff. Now that there's a reason to avoid it, well... that's good to know.

Jane R.
Jane R6 years ago

I don't use antibacterial soap. I've known for a long time it isn't safe. You can buy liquid hand soap that's not antibacterial. I suggest you never use antibacterial on small children.

paul m.
paul m6 years ago

Thanks for,,,,

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola6 years ago

Thank you for this article,