Triclosan: A Common Chemical Additive

Is The Chemical Triclosan In Your Socks?
By: Loretta Lanphier, NP, CN, HHP, CH
Liquid Hand Soap
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,, 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.”



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