If you had bet the trifecta at this year's Kentucky Derby, you would have won big picking Always Dreaming, Looking At Lee, and Battle of Midway.
But you won't win big if you bet on triclosan, a common antimicrobial that for decades has been used in household cleaning and personal care products like mouthwash and soaps.
Along with 17 other antimicrobials, triclosan was banned by the Food and Drug Administration last year. They are supposed to be totally removed from products later this year.
But triclosan may also show up in things like plush toys, pool wings, pacifier pockets, building blocks, even craft supplies like markers and scissors, with no label required. That's because the FDA doesn't oversee those kinds of products.
What makes triclosan and other antimicrobials so dangerous?
Besides their hormone-disrupting powers, bacteria that mutated to become resistant to quinolone antibiotics — used as the last line of defense against antibiotic-resistant infections — also became resistant to triclosan.
And triclosan may lead to resistance to essential antibiotics, according to researchers at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham in the U.K.
Here are the antimicrobials that work without the risk of making it impossible to treat life-threatening infections: soap, water, and 60 percent alcohol-based sanitizers.
Washing your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds will drop bacterial counts by 90 percent; another 15 seconds and you're down by 99.9 percent.
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