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High Health Hazard. Triclosan is a skin, eye and lung irritant. It has associated chronic health concerns and has the ability to persist in the environment and bio accumulate.
Triclosan is an ingredient added to many personal care products as an ‘antimicrobial’ to kill off bacteria and other microbesii. Triclosan has been shown to be very irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory systemiv. It is slow to biodegrade and is also toxic to and can bio-accumulate in aquatic organismsx. There is concern about many chronic health effects of triclosan, including hormone disruptance, immune system effects, developmental and fertility effectsvi,vii,viii. These concerns however do not have sufficient human-tested evidence for Triclosan to be banned. Not only can triclosan have so many possible health effects in humans, it can also very easily enter the body, and has been found in urine, plasma and even in human breast milkvii. The efficacy of Triclosan is questionable, with no sufficient evidence to suggest its antibacterial effects in products such as hand soap to be more beneficial than non-triclosan alternativesxi. Also, like similar antibacterial-type ingredients, there is concern for the development of resistance in bacteria to antimicrobials, a serious issue that could prove to become a major problem if this resistance is passed onto clinically relevant strainsxii.
ii) Triclosan: Applications and safety
iv)Triclosan MSDS Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc.
vi) Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population: 2003–2004
vii) Triclosan in plasma and milk from Swedish nursing mothers and their exposure via personal care products
viii) Triclosan: What Consumers should Know
x) BIODEGRADATION OF TRICLOSAN IN BIOSOLIDS-AMENDED SOILS
xii) Opinion on triclosan Antimicrobial Resistance
Learn more on the EWG website