Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical that first came to market decades ago (some sources say the 1960s, others 1970s) as an ingredient in surgical scrubs and antibacterial soaps used exclusively in hospitals and other health care facilities. In time, triclosan was added to many products for the home including liquid body soaps and bar soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, deodorants, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, clothing, toys, yoga mats, kitchen utensils, cutting boards, plastic food packaging, lunch bags, countertops, bedding, trash bags, and more.
While initially considered safe, later animal studies revealed several concerns including endocrine disruption, poor liver function and tumors, and disrupted thyroid function. Possibly the greatest concern is the belief that these products and their use are contributing to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains.
Triclosan Is Polluting Our Bodies and Our Environment
UC San Diego Health System reports that 97% of breast milk samples tested contain
triclosan and nearly 75% of urine tests from people tested contained triclosan. As for the environment, it is one of the seven most frequently detected compounds found in streams.
The National Resources Defense Council sued the FDA, forcing them to review triclosan. In December 2013, the FDA removed triclosan’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status, admitting the need for more studies.
The FDA says they are working in collaboration with the EPA to evaluate triclosan.