Triclosan, one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in
products, is the focus of a campaign undertaken by a coalition of health
and environmental groups led by Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water
Watch, aimed at removing triclosan from the market. Over the last few years, as a direct result of pressure from consumer
groups and the media regarding the need for triclosan in consumer
products and the mounting scientific evidence documenting adverse health
effects, including impacts to the thyroid hormone, major manufacturers
have quietly reformulated their products without triclosan.
Studies have increasingly
linked triclosan (and its chemical cousin triclocarban), to a range of
adverse health and environmental effects from skin irritation, endocrine disruption, bacterial and compounded antibiotic
resistance, to the contamination of water and its negative impact on fragile
When introduced to
the market in 1972, triclosan was confined to hospital and health care
settings. Since then triclosan exploded onto the market place in hundreds
of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes,
cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products.
Triclosan’s success on the consumer market has been aided by the
false public perception that antibacterial products are best to protect
and safeguard against potential harmful bacteria. However, an article
in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, entitled "Consumer
Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky?" (2007), concludes
that antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps. In 2010, FDA stated that, “Existing data raise valid concerns about the [health]
effects of repetitive daily human exposure to [triclosan]” and announced plans to address the use of triclosan in
cosmetics or other products.
Minnesota Bans Triclosan in Consumer Personal Care Cleaning Products
Triclosan has been banned from consumer personal care cleaning products in the state of Minnesota by an act of the state legislature. This public health measure, SF 2192, states that “no person shall offer for retail sale in Minnesota any cleaning product that that contains triclosan and is used by consumers for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing.” The legislation takes effect on January 1, 2017. One of the legislation’s lead sponsors, state Senator John Marty, predicted that the odds are good that most manufacturers will phase out triclosan by then as a result of this effort and other marketplace pressure. For More information see Beyond Pesticides' press release.
FDA Will Require Manufacturers to Prove Safety and Efficacy of Antibacterial Products; Beyond Pesticdes' Press Release
December 2013 - A new rule proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now require manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps, body washes, and other consumer goods to prove that their products are both safe for long-term use and more effective than regular bar soap in order to remain on the market. This announcement, though long delayed, represents a positive step towards reining in the unnecessary use of antibacterial chemicals.FDA’s new rule, announced Monday, will be open for public comment for 180 days and manufacturers will have one year to submit new data on their products. FDA hopes to finalize its rule and determine whether antibacterial products can be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by September 2016. Read FDA's Consumer Update.
Let Yor voice be heard on these new proposed rules! The agency is accepting public comments until June 16, 2014. Submit your comment here.
Proctor & Gamble To Eliminate Triclosan From its Products by 2014
September 2013- Multinational manufacturer Procter and Gamble (P&G) announced that it will eliminate the harmful antibacterial chemical triclosan from its products by 2014. P&G’s notice is the latest in a growing trend across the county, as both governments and private companies continue to move away from the use this dangerous and unnecessary substance. While P&G does not name the specific products from which it will be removing triclosan, it notes that the only remaining uses of triclosan are in the company’s antibacterial dish soap, professional hand soap, and some other personal care products (brands like Dawn and Safeguard Antibacterial Soaps).
Minnesota State Agencies to Stop Procurement of Triclosan
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced on March 3, 2013 that state agencies have been ordered by Governor Mark Dayton to stop buying products that contain triclosan, a synthetic, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that has become ubiquitous in consumer products ranging from face-washes to fabrics. This ban, which will go into effect in June, comes as the debate over the efficacy and necessity of triclosan intensifies in the Minnesota State legislature. A bill banning triclosan’s use outside of medical settings is expected to be introduced, and the legislature conducted a hearing Tuesday on the possible human health and environmental consequences of the chemical.
It is time once again to tell EPA to remove this dangerous chemical from the market. In March 2013, EPA opened the federal docket for triclosan, offically beginning the registration review of triclosan. Under
pressure after its 2008 review, EPA announced that it would again review
triclosan in 2013, five years earlier than scheduled. Over the last few
years, as a direct result of pressure from consumer groups and the
media regarding the need for triclosan in consumer products and the
mounting scientific evidence documenting adverse health effects,
including impacts to the thyroid hormone, major manufacturers have begun
to quietly reformulate their products without triclosan.
Johnson & Johnson to Phase Out Triclosan. Health care and cosmetics giant Johnson and Johnson has announced that it will soon begin phasing out a number of potentially dangerous chemicals from its personal care brands, including triclosan. The company cites consumer concern over the safety of triclosan as among its reasons for the alteration in its products, hinting that it was uncomfortable with growing body of science linking triclosan to a number of health concerns. The phase out is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015.
Canada Declares Triclsoan Toxic to the Environment. The Canadian government declared triclosan toxic to the environment, a move which would see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply in Canada. The draft risk assessment found triclosan to be toxic to the environment but did not find enough evidence to say it is hazardous to human health. A toxic designation under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act triggers a process to find ways to curtail a chemical’s use, including a possible ban in a range of personal-care products.
Video: Triclosan 101. Allison Aiello, PhD discusses the antibacterial ingredient triclosan,
its efficacy, and potential health impacts as part of the Pesticides and
Health Panel at "Healthy Communities: Green solutions for safe
environments," Beyond Pesticides' 30th National Pesticide Forum, March
30-31, 2012, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
From PRI: Triclosan Safety Questioned. Public Radio International's Living on Earth (download the show) recently interviewed Beyond Pesticides about the toxic antibacterial agent triclosan, which is found in many consumer products like toothpaste, countertops and children’s toys. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was also interviewed.
Overwhelming support for the petition to ban Triclosan.
Over 10,000 individuals told EPA, via email and docketed comments, to
ban the dangerous antibacterial triclosan. Additionally, scores of public
health and advocacy groups, local state departments of health and the
environment, as well as municipal and national wastewater treatment
agencies submitted comments requesting an end to triclosan in consumer
products. EPA published the petition for public comment in December
2010 and closed the comment period on April 8, 2011. Beyond Pesticides
once again urged the agency to ban the uses of triclosan in consumer
products citing risks to human and environmental health.
Act by April 8, 2011. Let EPA know that it's time to ban triclosan.
EPA has extended the comment period for another 60 days to April 8,
2011.Your voice is critical in generating public comments on a petition,
published in the Federal Register, to ban the antibacterial chemical
triclosan. As you may know, this chemial, now found in the bodies of
75% of the US population, is linked to endocrine disruption, bacterial
and antibiotic resistance, dioxin contamination, and contaminated fish
EPA announced a 60-day public comment period for the petition
filed by Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch to ban the controversial
antimicrobial pesticide triclosan for non-medical use. The petition,
filed on January 14, 2010, identifies pervasive and widespread use of
triclosan and the agency's failure to address triclosan's impacts on
human and environmental health, conduct assessments for residues in
drinking water and food and concerns related to antibacterial resistance
and endocrine disruption. The petition cites various violations of numerous
environmental statues including the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking
Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Comments are accepted until April 8, 2011 at www.regulations.gov.
Direct comments to docket number: EPA–HQ–OPP–2010–0548.
When commenting, please specify the statute to which your comments refer
(FIFRA, FFDCA, SDWA, CWA, or ESA) and the specific issue(s) raised in
the petition regarding that statute on which you are commenting. (December,
Urges FDA to Ban Triclosan. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise
M. Slaughter and two colleagues asked
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban triclosan due to
the hazards that this chemical poses, including antibiotic resistance
and potentially leading to higher health care costs, citing both Beyond
Pesticides and Food and Water Watch's petition currently pending before
the agency (November 2010).
released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) finds that levels of triclosan in humans have increased by 50%
since 2004 (August 2010).
FDA says, "existing
data raise valid concerns" regarding exposure to triclosan. FDA
is considering action in light of a petition
submitted by Beyond Pesticides, and others, and in response to a letter
from Rep. Markey (April 2010).
Food & Water Watch and more than 80 organizations petitioned
EPA to ban triclosan for non-medical applications on the basis that
uses violate federal laws regulating pesticides, clean and safe drinking
water, and endangered species (January 2010).
Looking for a product
free of triclosan? Find one from a
list of companies that have signed the pledge to be triclosan-free.
Take Action! Learn how you can help end the unnecessary use of this
toxic antibacterial chemical. Stay in the loop on triclosan and
other issues by joining us on Facebook.