Triclosan: Health Effects

The antibacterial compound Triclosan has been linked to numerous human health problems. Exposures come mainly by absorption through the skin or through the lining of the mouth. These exposures have resulted in contact dermatitis, or skin irritation, and an increase in allergic reactions, especially in children.

Triclosan has also been detected in human milk samples and in urine at high concentrations that correlate with the use pattern of this compound. Recent studies have also found that Triclosan interferes with the body’s thyroid hormone metabolism and maybe a potential endocrine disruptor. Children exposed to antibacterial compounds at an early age also have an increased chance of developing allergies, asthma and eczema.

There are also concerns about Triclosan and its link with dioxin, which is highly carcinogenic and can cause health problems as severe as weakening of the immune system, decreased fertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and cancer.

While products with this antibacterial agent claim to promote good health, these claims are indeed misleading. Triclosan does not provide any additional health benefits to the consumer, but it does pose risks to human health, most of which remain unknown.


Body Burden:

Evidence of endocrine disruption:

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)