Pregnant? Don't Sanitize Your Hands!

Jeanne Sager

TriclosanA pregnant woman and her hand sanitizer are like two peas in a pod. There's nothing like carrying the future in your belly to make you a total germaphobe.

And now for the next addition of "everything you're doing is wrong Mom." That hand sanitizer you carry everywhere could be bad for your baby. Really, really bad.

Where do we begin?

Along with your toothpaste, and your soap, and your socks, that sanitizer could be halting fetal development. These necessities all contain triclosan, an antibacterial chemical fingered by the Food and Drug Administration earlier for showing up in the urine of 75 percent of Americans.

Wait, wait. This was always supposed to be a good thing -- a study back in 1997 found the triclosan in our toothpaste was keeping gingivitis at bay. Considering more than half of pregnant women develop pregnancy-related gingivitis, I know I was lining up to get me as much mouth germ fighting power as I could get when I was waddling around.

And anything that claimed it would kill the germs on those nasty grocery carts where I stocked up on my Saltines and iron-heavy packages of spinach was my best friend.

But now a study out of the University of Florida claims triclosan can interfere with estrogen metabolism in women. Because estrogen is key during pregnancy -- it controls the development of a baby's organs and can impact the flow of oxygenated blood into the placenta -- it's time to put down the hand sanitizer and back away fast.

Before you decide to never wash your hands again, how about some news that will get you to start breathing normally again? Not every hand sanitizer, toothpaste, or soap is made with triclosan. And the FDA requires those that do to declare triclosan on an ingredients list (see above), so you can check the packages of all the cleaners in your household.

Pheww. That was a close one.

Are your favorite cleaners triclosan free?


Image via FDA

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