Are Antibacterial Socks, Shoes and Underwear Safe for Your Kids?

It is understandable that parents would want to keep their kids away from fungus, germs, and other bacteria. Consequently, it’s no surprise that we can now buy such things as anti-bacterial socks, shoes and underwear for our kids. But are these products safe? In fact, some of the antibacterial materials used in these products are under investigation by the FDA and EPA.

There are many natural ways to remove or inhibit the growth of fungus and bacteria – baking soda, certain essential oils, and so on. But many of the products contain something called Microban®, of which one of the ingredients is triclosan.

We wrote about Triclosan in a blog not too long ago – see Germs or Toxic Chemicals – Do We Really Have to Make that Choice? – but, at the time, didn’t realize that triclosan was also in Microban.

The FDA approved triclosan for use – but that was 30 years ago. Since that time, studies have linked triclosan to cancer, hormonal disruption, including thyroid conditions, liver problems, allergies, and more.

Triclosan – largely known as an ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, body washes and other personal care products – is now on the EPA’s Chemicals of Concern list and under investigation. How long it will be legal is up in the air. Rumor has it the results of the investigation were supposed to be available this fall but, so far, they haven’t been released.

We can assume that if triclosan is banned, Microban might be on the way out, too.

Read more about Microban and triclosan in Is the Chemical Triclosan in Your Socks?

Parents, in the meantime, would be wise to stay away from Microban products until the jury has returned its verdict.

Of course, there is no shortage of socks, shoes, underwear, and so on that pose no risk whatsoever! They don’t contain these potentially dangerous chemicals. Generally, these are natural cotton, wool, silk and other natural materials. However, there are some products that may say ‘naturally antimicrobial’ on the label because they fight germs with natural substances inherent it the materials. If there is any question about what chemicals or substances are used, contact the manufacturer.

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2 Responses to “Are Antibacterial Socks, Shoes and Underwear Safe for Your Kids?”

  1. gloria says:

    Hello George. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. As for the circumstances you describe, there’s no question that sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks – of many things. And I can certainly see how that might be the case for the conditions you describe. I join you in praying that whatever the government does about these chemicals, there is still a solution available to people who really need it.

  2. Coleen says:

    great response, Gloria, to George….It appears that the product is more about protecting the shoes than people, but if some people need this, I would think they could buy something that was safe to protect them. Also, because of the probable toxicity to people of these anti-microbial products, I would think they would also be harmful to those who suffer the problems of which George speaks. If the upside for those people outweigh the downside, then those people should be able to buy these products (IF and this is a big if, there are no safer products which I believe there probably are…..bamboo charcoal maybe), but they should be the exception not the norm. I cannot FIND clothes nor shoes without harmful chemicals that are either toxic in the making and/or in the wearing and/or in their disposal when they are no longer usable. The thing is if by some chance these products weren’t harmful, I feel they are more than likely very harmful to the environment in their production and probably to the workers. It is SO difficult to provide for basic needs with the poisons that are put out there by corporations who do not think past their OWN immediate DOLLARS.

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