EWG's Guide to Triclosan
Reports & Consumer Guides
Where is triclosan found?
It’s nearly ubiquitous in liquid hand soap and dishwashing detergent, but those aren’t the only products it’s in. Triclosan is also a common ingredient in toothpaste, facewash, deodorant, a host of personal care products, and even mattresses, toothbrushes and shoe insoles. A U.S. FDA advisory committee has found that household use of antibacterial products provides no benefits over plain soap and water, and the American Medical Association recommends that triclosan not be used in the home, as it may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
What problems are associated with triclosan?
Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical, which means it ends up in our lakes, rivers and water sources. That’s especially unfortunate since triclosan is very toxic to aquatic life.
HOW TO AVOID TRICLOSAN
Forgo antibacterial soap.
The American Medical Association says not to use it at home.
Watch for triclosan (and triclocarban) in personal care products.
Read ingredient labels or use Skin Deep to find products free of triclosan and triclocarban, its chemical cousin.
Avoid “antibacterial” products.
Triclosan is used in everyday products like toothbrushes, toys, and cutting boards that may be labeled “antibacterial,” or make claims such as “odor-fighting” or “keeps food fresher, longer.
Key Issues, Toxics, Health Concerns: