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Jan 23rd 2024

Antibacterial Soap Alert: Triclosan Weakens Muscle, Including Heart


The antibacterial triclosan has become ubiquitous in our environment, showing up in tap water, breast milk and in the body fluids of ¾ of those tested in the US. Initially used to prevent bacterial infections in hospitals, it’s now found in soaps, toothpastes, kitchen utensils, toys, bedding and anywhere else that manufacturers believe it will bolster the price of their products. Already shown to be an endocrine disrupter that prevents thyroid hormone from functioning normally, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that triclosan hinders muscle contractions at the cellular level by impairing the flow of calcium into and out of the cells.


A series of experiments in this and other studies have exposed mice, fish, minnows and human cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue to concentrations of triclosan similar to what the average person is exposed to daily. Results were similar throughout: muscles failed to contract properly and heart function was significantly reduced.  In mice, heart muscle function dropped by as much as 25% after a single exposure to triclosan, and grip strength by 18%. “The effects of triclosan on cardiac function were really dramatic,” said co-author Nipavan Chiamvimonvat. “Although triclosan is not regulated as a drug, this compound acts like a potent cardiac depressant in our models.” Although exactly how living humans react to triclosan has yet to be studied, Chiamvimonvat speculated that triclosan may be responsible for exacerbating existing heart problems in cardiac patients.  Bruce Hammock, another study co-author stated that, “At the very least, our findings call for a dramatic reduction in its [triclosan’s] use.”

What’s particularly dismaying about all this is that while triclosan does substantial harm, it doesn’t protect against germs any better than washing your hands with regular soap and water. Even the FDA has said so.

So don’t buy antibacterial soaps, look for and avoid triclosan in other products, and use an infrared sauna to get stored triclosan out of your body. (This is one reason why everyone should be taking regular saunas.)

Cherednichenko G. Triclosan impairs excitation—contraction coupling and Ca2+ dynamics in striated muscle. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online ahead of print August 13, 2012.
Raloff J. Antibacterial agent can weaken muscle – Triclosan impairs power of heart and other muscles. Science News Web edition, Tuesday, August 14, 2012.
Stromberg J. Triclosan, a chemical used in antibacterial soaps, is found to impair muscle function. Surprising Science,, August 13, 2012.




Information contained in NewsClips articles should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.