Coming Clean

Long-term exposure to triclosan, an antimicrobial agent often found in liquid soaps, just might increase your odds of liver cancer. Findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report that mice exposed to the chemical were more vulnerable to developing liver tumors than those who weren’t. What’s more, the tumors that did develop were larger in the triclosan group. Earlier studies have found traces of the chemical in 97 percent of breast milk samples from nursing mothers and in the urine of nearly 75 percent of people tested. Triclosan is already under scrutiny by the FDA, thanks to its widespread use and recent reports that it can disrupt hormones and impair muscle contraction. To clean up your cleansers, check ingredient labels before buying liquid hand soap, shampoos, dish detergent, or toothpaste and opt for those made with natural vegetable oils and other plant-based ingredients.

Yueh MF. The commonly used antimicrobial additive triclosan is a liver tumor promoter. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014;111(48):17200-5.