- Bar soap May 21
Last week, Minnesota's legislature passed, and Gov. Mark Dayton (D) signed, the country's first ban of triclosan in most retail products. What's triclosan? The active ingredient in about 75 percent of antibacterial soaps and body washes in the U.S. It's also in dish and laundry detergent, and even some toothpastes. The ban doesn't take effect until 2017, but state Sen. John Marty (D), one of the bill's lead sponsors, said Monday he expects the chemical to be phased out before then.
So what's wrong with triclosan? "Studies have raised concerns that it can disrupt hormones critical for reproduction and development, at least in lab animals, and contribute to the development of resistant bacteria," explains The Associated Press' Steve Karnowski. On top of that, there's no evidence that it gets our hands any cleaner. Still, Americans don't like being told they can't buy something — remember the flap over incandescent light bulb regulations? — and triclosan is produced in somebody's congressional district.
Once this ban starts spreading to other states, some group or lawmaker is going to call foul. It's practically the American way. Here's a better idea: Take a few seconds to learn how to properly wash your hands with regular soap.- -
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Hey, Paul Ryan's new poverty plan isn't completely terrible!
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
- Deficit scolds are the most crazed ideologues in America
- The disturbing lessons of Arizona's un-American execution
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
Subscribe to the Week