Triclosan

Triclosan

Triclosan is used as an antimicrobial agent in personal care products and cosmetics as well as fabrics and plastics.

How am I exposed?

Triclosan is commonly found in antibacterial soaps and detergents, toothpaste and tooth whitening products, antiperspirants/deodorants, shaving products, creams, and color cosmetics.

Why should I be concerned?

Triclosan is a known endocrine disruptor and disrupts proper thyroid function. There is also evidence that triclosan causes antimicrobial drug-resistant bacteria such as some strands of E. coli and salmonella. Triclosan is also bioaccumulative and has been found in human breast milk and umbilical cord blood of infants.

What can government and business can do?

  • Businesses can manufacture products without triclosan by looking for safer alternative chemicals as replacements.
  • State and federal governments can pass legislation to require the phasing out of triclosan.

How can I reduce my exposure?

  • Avoid products that list “Triclosan” as an ingredient.
  • Avoid antibacterial soap products when possible.
  • You can also use the Environmental Working Group’s database, Skin Deep®, which will allow you to research the safety of certain personal care and cosmetic products.

Additional resources
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Triclosan
Environmental Working Group: Skin Deep® Database

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