FDA investigates chemical found in soaps and detergents

Photo Source: MGN Online
Photo Source: MGN Online


Luke Teodosio likes to play with toys at Kids R Kids in Greenville County. He's only four years old and has no idea about grimy germs, but his mother does.

"I wash my kids' hands as soon as we walk in the door," Kate Teodosio said.

She said having two children who like to put their hands everywhere can be a handful.

"I try to let them get a little bit dirty, but if they're in a bathroom stall and touching the door, I'm to Purell them," Kate Teodosio said.

She means Purell as in the hand sanitizer, but now researchers with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are looking into soaps like Dial Antibacterial soap, CVS Antibacterial soap and products like Colgate Total toothpaste. They said they're researching the chemical triclosan to see if could increase the risk of infertility and early puberty after some studies showed it did in animals.

"The old-fashioned way - soap and water are still the best," Dr. Emmanuel Sarmiento said.

He's an allergist with the Allergic Disease & Asthma Center in Greenville County. He said triclosan doesn't cause allergies, but studies show there's a possible link between the two.

"It shows maybe overuse of this antimicrobial agent could kill the beneficial as well as the bad bacteria that may affect your immune system," Sarmineto said.

He said using hand sanitizer is fine, but if you're home instead of using antibacterial soaps, plain soap and water should be the first option.

"If you're outdoors and your hands are dirty and you have to eat, use your hand sanitizer," Sarmiento said.

And that's why Winsel Davenport said administrators at Kids R Kids have signs posted for parents who pick up their children.

"For example, in front of the baby room, there's an industrial-sized bottle of hand sanitizer for parents so they can sanitize their hands," Davenport said.

He's the assistant director of family services at Kids R Kids.

"Hand-washing is the staple in our facility," Davenport said.

And Kate Teodosio said she'll keep the Purell handy.

"We seem to be pretty healthy for the most part," Kate Teodosio said.

A spokesperson with the American Cleaning Institute said triclosan is safe.

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