Something fishy going on with anti-bacterial soap

Did your last tilapia fillet taste like Safeguard?

This school of fish never had a chance.

The tested fish accumulated soap chemicals so rapidly they were placed in decorative positions in the laboratory bathroom.

Probably not, but new evidence suggests anti-bacterial soaps are filling the nation’s fish with the cleansing chemical added to everything from deodorant to wet wipes.

An article on says triclocarban, the anti-bacterial part in anti-bacterial products, seems to accumulate in the flesh of fish and can be found “in 60 percent of all rivers and streams in the United States.”

Unlike humans, fish apparently can’t break down the chemical so it accumulates in their bodies.

In a test, “fish quickly accumulated TCC,” a scientist said. “The levels of the TCC in the fish soon after exposure were about 1,000 times higher than the concentration in the water.”

The medical effect to humans is not known, but TCC “has been associated with lower levels of thyroid hormone and testosterone, which could result in altered behavior, learning disabilities, or infertility.”

Anti-bacterial soaps are no more effective than regular soap. But that doesn’t slow a well-funded marketing campaign.

Worse yet, the prevalence of anti-bacterial products may be hastening the development of drug-resistant “superbugs.”

Just something to think about before using hand sanitizer in the Filet-O-Fish drive-thru.

5 comments Add your comment

Old Geezer

April 7th, 2011
5:32 pm

So I shouldn’t have emptied a few bottles of expired hand sanitizer into the Chattahoochee? Who knew the crap expired? or the fish wouldn’t benefit from it? I guess I’m gonna have to revoke my Chattahoochee River Keeper membership, cause I got a few more bottles to dispose of.

Charley Tuna

April 7th, 2011
7:24 pm

“…triclocarban, the anti-bacterial part in anti-bacterial products, seems to accumulate in the flesh of fish…”

This is good actually. Now when I eat fish I’ll know I’m being sanitized on the inside too. Might even cut down on the number of doctor visits.


April 10th, 2011
7:19 pm

Anti-bacterial soap and hand sanitizer are two different chemicals. Hand sanitizer is made with alcohol and water. Triclocarban is the stuff in anti-bacterial soap. Hand sanitizer = good for environment. Maybe you should get a proof reader and a fact checker before you submit false info in a news report.

precious rambo

April 16th, 2011
5:19 pm

your insides are outside


April 17th, 2011
11:59 am

Yep, alcohol in hand sanitizer, and plain liquid soap and warm water for washing hands fight diseases like the flu and food poisoning. But just as the article says, anti-bacterial soaps have no more effectiveness, and here’s one more negative against them. They’re hard on skin, too, and that increases the number of bacteria that can live on it.