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 bio-accumulative 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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