In light of a Canadian government review of a key antibacterial ingredient, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) reminds consumers that triclosan has a decades-long track record of safe and effective use in personal care and hand hygiene products.
After a preliminary screening assessment of triclosan by Health Canada and Environment Canada, officials there reiterated that triclosan-containing products are safe for consumers to use.
Antibacterial soaps and washes play a beneficial role in the daily hygiene routines of millions of people throughout the U.S. and worldwide, says Richard Sedlak, ACI's senior vice president or technical and international affairs. They have been and are used safely and effectively in homes, hospitals, and workplaces every single day. Furthermore, a number of governmental bodies in the U.S. and around the world have determined the safe uses of triclosan and the products containing it; product manufacturers must abide by those safety rules.
ACI says that science-based research and data show triclosan is safe for use in regulated hygiene products, does not cause significant risks or harm to human health and the environment, and does not contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
As ACI stated in 2011 comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Triclosan does not pose a risk to aquatic or terrestrial environments, nor does it pose a threat of accumulation in drinking water or food. Additionally, based on extensive studies relevant to understanding the potential for triclosan to cause endocrine disruption in humans and aquatic animals, triclosan is not a cause of endocrine related effects at environmentally relevant concentrations.
ACI reiterated that triclosan-containing antibacterial handwash products provide a benefit compared to non-antibacterial handwash products.
Antibacterial handwashes provide a public health benefit by reducing or eliminating pathogenic bacteria on the skin to a significantly greater degree than plain soap and water, says Sedlak. The bacterial reduction from handwashing is linked to reduced infection from pathogenic bacteria. ACI will thoroughly review the Canadian governments draft safety assessment of triclosan, which is a preliminary assessment, not a final decision. We will share updated science and research that affirms the environmental safety of triclosan, adds Sedlak.