Bath and Body Works, Take Two: Spread Love, Not Antibacterial Resistance

My recent review of Bath and Body Works uncovered their questionable labeling, mystery testing practices, and the use of nasty toxins in their antibacterial products. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to look for natural alternatives, check out the new petition by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The problem with Triclosan.

You may have heard the buzz about Triclosan, an antimicrobial originally classified as a pesticide that has been found to cause hormonal toxicity, antibacterial resistance, and environmental contamination. This nasty stuff is found in a ton of antibacterial products, including soaps, lotions, and even children’s products. It is prevalent in Bath and Body Works products. Triclosan was detected in three-quarters of the population in a  recent study reported by the Washington Post. Our fear of microbes is out of control, and I am as guilty as anyone. I’ve already confessed my dirty little secret about my affection for hand sanitizer. While my days working as a nurse in the hospital may have instilled a fear of the bounty of microbes floating around there, now my days are spent in my home office at the computer, attending play dates with my toddler, and hanging out at the park. My antibacterial obsession is merely a habit, not a necessity. I’m now ready to take the pledge and in addition to Triclosan, I will be avoiding all antibacterial products. The truth of the matter is that antibacterial agents like Triclosan have been shown time and again to be no more effective than soap and water! And there are many essential oils like green tree oil that have natural antibacterial properties.

How to take action.

It’s time for a major shift in our thinking when it comes to cleanliness and our consumer habits. Many companies like Colgate and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to remove Triclosan from their product formulations, but Bath and Body Works continues to refuse to do so. Triclosan is currently under investigation by the FDA, whose fact sheet reassures consumers “FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.”  Don’t wait for the research to come out—let’s rely on our common sense, which will tell us that Triclosan clearly isn’t benefiting anyone. Let’s use this news as an opportunity to teach our children. Hopefully we can influence  our society to return to basics, ditch antibacterial products and embrace the old-fashioned method of soap and water!


Do you shop at Bath and Body Works? Have you taken the pledge to avoid Triclosan? Do you think our society has become too obsessed with antibacterial products?