Hand soap chemical Triclosan under scrutiny in the US

Frequent hand-washing is an occupational hazard for those in childcare, health and hospitality sectors. These workers share a common complaint: They are forever wiping noses, changing dirty nappies, handling bodily fluids, using chemical cleaners or handling food. One common chemical in hand soaps, triclosan, has come under recent scrutiny. Today we look at the need for safe, gentle antibacterial hand wash products for workers in these critical industries.

US authorities have been reviewing the chemical triclosan – common in antibacterial hand soaps – because of links to hormone dysfunction and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The product has come under close scrutiny by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). Australian authorities have currently ruled out any investigation into the chemical compound. Responding last year to the US review, the Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme said its investigations had found triclosan to be safe in small concentrations.

Triclosan is commonly found in antibacterial hand cleaners, cosmetic products and even disposable nappies. The US EPA and FDA are researching the effects of the chemical to better understand its endocrine-related effects, toxicological effects, antimicrobial resistance and to determine safe levels of exposure. The US EPA claims: “Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”

Despite these concerns effective hand washing is critical to preventing the spread of germs and infection in hospitals, schools, childcare centres, and food and hospitality venues. Research has found:

  • The average person has between two and 10 million bacteria from their fingertips to elbow;
  • Damp hands spread 1000 times more germs than dry hands;
  • Germs can stay alive on hands for up to three hours.

Safe, gentle and effective antibacterial hand wash and industrial hand cleaner are essential products. Perth-based environmental cleaning products company Envirosafe Solutions has a range of hand cleaning products, all of which are triclosan-free. These include its:

  • Its Extreme green Anti-Bacterial Hand Wash: A perfume-free liquid soup which contains skin conditioning agents to guard against dermatitis and is highly-effective in killing germs;
  • Hands First antibacterial instant hand sanitiser: Alcohol-free and dries within 10 seconds. Unlike other hand gels, it will not irritate even the most sensitive skin types and has been designed with the food industry in mind, where hand sanitising is required up to 40 times a day;
  • Extreme Green Liquid Hand Soap: Lightly-perfumed and designed to leave hands soft and supple;
  • Extreme Green Industrial Hand Cleaner: Contains natural orange oil and polymer beads to remove oils, dirt, ink and grease without stripping hands of essential oils, ideally suited to farm and mechanical applications.

The constant demands of hand washing are a concern for Australian workers dealing with germs, chemicals, grease and biological hazards. Envirosafe Solutions range of hand cleaners – including its antibacterial hand wash – have been designed for frequent hand sanitisation. For more information phone 1300 88 90 70 or email info@evss.com.au.