If you’re renovating your kitchen and thinking about putting in those anti-microbial countertops, think twice. Seventh Generation’s Science Man says they are health hazards.
“Anti-microbial counter tops are an interesting new approach to controlling microorganisms. The antimicrobial compounds used in these counter tops are required to be registered with the EPA as antimicrobial pesticides and, as such, are required to have substantial data to support their antimicrobial claims.
However, the issue with these products is not whether or not they are effective, but the fact that the active ingredient is typically Triclosan which is believed by many to be a human, animal and environmental health hazard. Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent that can be converted by sunlight or chlorinated tap water into toxic dioxins, which according to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) are “reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens”. In addition, Triclosan has been found in the breast milk and blood plasma of randomly selected Swedish Triclosan users as well as in their babies, so the chemical is able to be absorbed systemically.[4-6]
From an environmental perspective, Triclosan and its degradation byproducts are persistent in wastewaters and marine sediments, bioaccumulate, and are harmful to aquatic animal species.[7-10]. Basically, the benefit that you get from an anti-microbial countertop is that the anti-microbial is working all of the time. An important question is whether or not this “24-hour” germ killing is really a benefit, as there are spot usage sanitizers and disinfectants on the market that use natural anti-microbial ingredients like lactic acid, citric acid, and thyme oil which do not have these disadvantages.”