Triclosan, found in many personal and home products under EPA investigation.Triclosan has been used for its antibacterial properties for more than 30 years, starting out as a surgical scrub. Since then, this synthetic, broad-spectrum, antimicrobial agent has become increasingly popular in personal hygiene products. Unfortunately, triclosan has also recently drawn a lot of regulatory, congressional, and media scrutiny.
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D. Mass.) has sent inquiries to both the EPA and the FDA because of his concern that antibacterial products are not only ineffective, but cause risks to human health and the environment. He received responses from both organizations indicating that additional research is warranted on the negative health ramifications of daily contact with the agent triclosan. (For more detailed information on this, see the Chemical and Engineering News site: pubs.acs.org/cen/news/88/i16/8816news1.html.)
In Pesticides and You, the author of The Ubiquitous Triclosan: A Common Antibacterial Agent Exposed, Aviva Glaser stated, “Studies have increasingly linked triclosan to a range of health and environmental effects, from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial and compounded antibiotic resistant, and dioxin contamination to destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems.” (See beyondpesticides. org/pesticides/factsheets/Triclosan%20cited.pdf for Glaser’s entire fact sheet.)
Triclosan is not only found in personal hygiene products, but is contained in toothpaste, cosmetics, deodorant, and shows up under other names in products such as countertops, kitchenware, clothing, and plastic toys.
(For a complete list of products that contain triclosan visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and reference the Household Products Database at householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgibin/household/ brands?tbl=chem&id=201.)