Media reports and analysis of a new research paper are distorting the real world safety and everyday use of the antibacterial ingredient triclosan based on faulty comparisons to overdosed test subjects, according to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI).
“Antibacterial products containing the germ-killing ingredient triclosan remain safe and effective for everyday use,” says Richard Sedlak, executive vice president for technical and international affairs for ACI. “Triclosan is one of the most thoroughly studied and researched ingredients over the past 40 years. Extensive regulatory and scientific reviews of triclosan by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other regulatory bodies around the world, have found the uses of triclosan to be safe.”
For example, a 2011 review by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety found that the “use of triclosan at a maximum concentration of 0.3 percent in toothpastes, hand soaps, body soaps/shower gels and deodorant sticks is considered safe.”
A 2012 preliminary screening assessment of triclosan by Health Canada and Environment Canada also reiterated that triclosan-containing products are safe for consumers to use.
“In this current study, essentially the authors sampled the test subjects (mice and fish) at levels that the test subjects would never be subjected to in the real world, let alone human beings,” says Sedlak. “Antibacterial soaps are used as a part of common sense hygiene routines in homes, hospitals, doctors’ offices, day care centers, nursing homes, and countless other office and institutional settings. These products and ingredients have stood the test of time through extensive research and testing. It’s unfortunate that attempts are made to distort real-world use of products and ingredients that contribute to better health.”