Avoiding Triclosan

As I was sitting on the floor in the bathroom the other day, playing with Silas while he was on the potty, I looked over to the bathtub and noticed this for the first time:

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as Microban seems to be everywhere these days (including pencils, scissors, and the garden hose).

What is Microban? It is a proprietary mix of chemicals, that may contain Triclosan, that is added to an increasing number of products. People assume (myself included) that these chemicals are added to protect them from harmful bacteria; that if a sick child handles a scissors impregnated with Microban and then hands that scissors to you, you'll be less likely to catch whatever they have. This is just not the case. The purpose of Microban is really to protect the product from deterioration. From Microban's website:
Built-in to products during the manufacturing process, *Microban® antimicrobial product protection is engineered to protect products from bacteria, mold and in some cases algae that can cause stains, odors and product deterioration. Microban protection is not designed to protect users from disease causing microorganisms.
Microban is not the same thing as Triclosan (another misconception that I had). From The Environmental Working Group:
Contrary to popular belief, triclosan is not the same as Microban. Triclosan is officially registered under the EPA as “Microban additive B” – that is to say, any given product sold under the Microban trade name does not necessarily contain triclosan. Which antimicrobial agent is being used for those products, however, the company will not disclose: it could quite literally be anything!
Because of the probable health hazards of Triclosan, especially to nursing children and babies in utero, and because the company refuses to reveal what's really in it, I try to avoid Microban whenever I can. Can I rip out my bathtub? No. Of course not. And it's not like we're going to stop using it either. But, it's just one more chemical exposure to be aware of and a reminder to remain diligent in controlling our exposure when I can.


  1. Silas is SO cute- and what a big boy- potty training!

    I didn't know anything about any of this- so of course it is something that I am grateful to now be aware of.

    The thing that keeps me sane is that everything in moderation is doable.

  2. oh wow! that's great to know!

  3. Yes, it's a scary world out there! That is the very reason I tore my bathrooms apart for old cast iron tubs!
    Sila's is just too cute, keep those pictures coming! :)

    1. Way to go! I grew up taking baths in a beautiful claw foot cast iron tub. I didn't realize how good I had it!

  4. oh my gosh not heard of this. will remember wnen buying our tub thank you!

  5. the more I learn the more I'm convinced that the only disease we face is toxicity. Sad to find this here in the bath tub, the place of nurture and self care. :(

  6. I hate being inundated with these chemicals at every turn. It is so frustrating because, really, there is only so much we can do.

  7. Whew. I guess I'm a bit thankful for the old fixtures in my bathrooms now!

    Oh Silas.. I LOVE those toothy grins of yours.