According to an FDA press release on April 8th, 2010 the FDA has decided to begin studies on the safety of Triclosan a common chemical ingredient in antibacterial cosmetics, soaps, body washes and other personal care products. Triclosan is also found in products such as clothing (marketed as Microban®), socks, kitchenware, furniture, and toys. Recent research on animals suggests that Triclosan may have negative effects on the endocrine system, which is responsible for secreting hormones that help regulate growth, mood, metabolism, etc. Past research has indicated that the chemical might help to create bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
According to the FDA website, www.fda.gov, in January 2010, Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, sent a letter to the FDA requesting information about the status of FDA’s ongoing review of triclosan in consumer products. In responding to the Chairman’s letter, the FDA explained that, in light of animal studies raising questions about triclosan’s safety, the agency is engaged in an ongoing scientific review to incorporate the most up-to-date data and information into the regulations that govern consumer products containing triclosan. The FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time. Studies are not scheduled to be completed until the Spring of 2011 and in the meantime Triclosan continues to be included in a growing amount of products.
According to FDA: “At this time, the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.”
WARNING TO PARENTS. According to Rep. Markey: “Despite the fact that this chemical is found in everything from soaps to socks, there are many troubling questions about triclosan’s effectiveness and potentially harmful effects, especially for children. There is clear evidence that many consumer products that contain it are no more effective than those that do not. However, triclosan continues to be used in products that saturate the marketplace. Consumers—especially parents—need to know that many of these products are not only ineffective, they may also be dangerous.”
History of Triclosan
Triclosan was introduced to the market in 1972 and was confined to hospital and health care settings. Triclosan has already been banned or restricted in other countries, including the European Union. In the U.S., however, regulatory agencies have failed to act on this serious public health threat that has mushroomed into a very common chemical ingredient in many products. Not until 2005 did the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) conclude that antimicrobial soaps and sanitizers do not reduce the risk of illness and infection in the home; however, products made with triclosan remain on the market.
In June 2006 it was reported by Johns Hopkins Univserity research that about 75 percent of the Triclosan that people flush down their drains survives treatment at sewage plants, with most ending up in sludge spread on farm fields. According to the research, every year an estimated 200 tons of two compounds; triclocarban and triclosan are applied to agricultural lands throughout the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Triclosan is found in the urine of 75 percent of the population. The chemical has also been found in about 60 percent of U.S. streams.
Health Concerns of Triclosan
Triclosan is a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals which is suspected of causing cancer in humans. While the companies that manufacture products containing triclosan claim that it is safe, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered it as a pesticide. The EPA gives triclosan high scores both as a human health risk and as an environmental risk.
Triclosan may be cancer-causing by itself and/or in combination with other substances. In combination with water, it can produce chloroform gas that when inhaled can cause liver problems, depression and cancer. It is suspected that sunlight can transform triclosan to dioxin naturally.
Below is some research done on the effects of Tricloson on the body.
- Triclosan in plasma and milk from Swedish nursing mothers and their exposure via personal care products (Science of the Total Environment, 2006)
- Triclosan, a commonly used bactericide found in human milk and in the aquatic environment in Sweden (Chemosphere, 2002)
- Risk assessment of triclosan [Irgasan(r)]in human breast milk (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2007)
- Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population: 2003–2004 (Environmental Health Perspectives, 2007)
- Pharmacokinetics of triclosan following oral ingestion in humans (J. of Tox. and Environ. Health, 2006)
- The influence of age and gender on triclosan concentrations in Australian human blood serum (Science of the Total Environment, 2007)
Evidence of endocrine disruption:
- Estrogenic and androgenic activity of triclosan in breast cancer cells (Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2007)
- Short-term in vivo exposure to the water contaminant triclosan: Evidence for disruption of thyroxine (Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, 2007)
- Environmental oestrogens, cosmetics and breast cancer (Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2006)
- The effects of triclosan on puberty and thyroid hormones in male wistar rats (Toxicological Sciences, 2008)
Other Health Effects:
- Determination of Parabens and Triclosan in Indoor Dust Using Matrix Solid-Phase Dispersion and Gas Chromatography with Tandem Mass Spectrometry (Analytical Chemistry,2007)
- Effect of triclosan (TRN) on energy-linked functions of rat liver mitochondria (Tox. Letters, 2005)
- Early-life exposure to antibacterials…(Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 2003)
- Antibacterial Household Products: Cause for Concern (Emerging Infectious Disease, 2001)
- Allergic contact dermatitis from triclosan in antibacterial handwashes (Contact Dermatitis, 2001)
Products Containing Triclosan
Below is a small sampling of the thousands of products containing triclosan. This list is not to be considered an all-inclusive or complete list. It is very importan to take the time to read product labels in order to determine whether triclosan is contained in the product.
Soap: Dial® Liquid Soap; Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap; Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap; Provon® Soap; Clearasil® Daily Face Wash; Dermatologica® Skin Purifying Wipes; Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser; DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap; Naturade Aloe Vera 80® Antibacterial Soap; CVS Antibacterial Soap, pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser, Ajax Antibacterial Dishsoap, Ultra Concentrated Dawn Antibacterial Dishsoap, PROVON medicated lotion soap, Murad Clarifying Cleanser, Rainbow Raspberry Antibacterial Soap For Kids, FNC Medical Ca-Rezz Wash, Kimcare Antibacterial Clear Soap, Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Hand Soaps, Gels and Foaming Sanitizers.
Dental Care: Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Triclosan Mouthwash; Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush; Janina Diamond Whitening Toothpaste.
Cosmetics: Supre® Café Bronzer™; TotalSkinCare Makeup Kit; Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation; Mavala Lip Base; Jason Natural Cosmetics; Blemish Cover Stick; Movate® Skin Litening Cream HQ; Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb, Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss, Dazzle, Babor Volume Mascara, Sothys, Phytomer, Cosmolara™, Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Moisturizing Lotions.
Deodorant: Old Spice High Endurance Stick Deodorant, Right Guard Sport Deodorant, Queen Helene® Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant; Nature De France Le Stick Natural Stick Deodorant; DeCleor Deodorant Stick; Epoch® Deodorant with Citrisomes; X Air Maximum Strength Deodorant, LadyMitchum A/P&Deodorant.
Other Personal Care Products: Gillette® Complete Skin Care MultiGel Aerosol Shave Gel; Murad Acne Complex® Kit, ®; Diabet-x™ Cream; T.Taio™ sponges and wipes, Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel, Scunci Microban Hairbrush, Sportslick Pocket Slick.
First Aid: SyDERMA® Skin Protectant plus First Aid Antiseptic; Solarcaine® First Aid Medicated Spray; Nexcare™ First Aid, Skin Crack Care; First Aid/Burn Cream; HealWell® Night Splint; 11-1X1: Universal Cervical Collar with Microban, Brave Soldier Antiseptic Healing Ointment.
Kitchenware: Farberware® Microban Steakknife Set and Cutting Boards; Franklin Machine Products FMP Ice Cream Scoop SZ 20 Microban; Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer; Chix® Food Service Wipes with Microban; Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads.
Computer Equipment: Fellowes Cordless Microban Keyboard and Microban Mouse Pad.
Clothes: Merrell Shoes; Sabatier Chef’s Apron; Dickies Socks; Fruit of the Loom Socks; Biofresh® socks, Argentovivo Stilfresh underwear.
Children’s Toys: Playskool®: Stack ‘n Scoop Whale, Rockin’ Radio, Hourglass, Sounds Around Driver, Roll ‘n Rattle Ball, Animal Sounds Phone, Busy Beads Pal, Pop ‘n Spin Top, Lights ‘n Surprise Laptop.
Other: Bionare® Cool Mist Humidifier; Microban® All Weather Reinforced Hose; Thomasville® Furniture; Deciguard AB Ear Plugs; Bauer® 5000 Helmet; Aquatic Whirlpools; Miller Paint Interior Paint; QVC® Collapsible 40-Can Cooler; Holmes Foot Buddy™ Foot Warmer, Blue Mountain Wall Coverings, California Paints®, EHC AMRail Escalator Handrails, Dupont™ Air Filters, Durelle™ Carpet Cushions, Advanta One Laminate Floors, San Luis Blankets, J Cloth® towels, JERMEX mops, select Quicke cleaning products, BioEars earplugs, Elizabeth’SPA™ bath and body products, Purely Bath™ bath and body accessories, Petmate® LeBistro feeders and waterers, Infantino cart covers and baby carriers, Oreck XL®, Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum™, NuTone® Central Vacuum systems, Rival® Seal-A-Meal® Vacuum Food Sealer, CleenFreek SportsHygiene Yoga Mat, Blueair 501 air purifier.
For more information about Triclosan go to Sign the pledge to Stop Using Triclosan-Containing Consumer Products
Tags: antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial soap, bacteria resistance, chemicals in clothing, chloroform gas, dioxin, pesticide, triclocarban, triclosan, triclosan and breast cancer, triclosan containing products, triclosan in human milk