Despite the popularity of anti-bacterial hand soaps in recent years, some soaps have also been getting some negative attention for containing a possibly cancer-causing ingredient. Triclosan, an antimicrobial/antibacterial pesticide, has been used in a variety of household products, including hand soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, utensils, laundry detergent, clothing and toys.
Most anti-bacterial soaps contain triclosan. Animal studies have found that the chemical may alter hormone regulation, and other studies have shown that bacteria may be evolving to resist not only Triclosan but antibiotics as well.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a petition filed by 82 health and environmental groups to ban household triclosan. The FDA says it does not have evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain the chemical, and American Cleaning Institute has defended the safety of triclosan in products.
The green movement has helped manufacturers provide triclosan-free soaps; the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification does not allow chemicals to contain anti-microbials such as triclosan, so there are plenty of alternative soaps on the market.