Triclosan: Is it safe?

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Triclosan: Is it safe?

Question

Should I avoid products that contain triclosan?

No name
No state given

Answer

There currently isn't enough evidence to recommend avoiding use of products that contain triclosan — an ingredient added to certain soaps, cosmetics, clothing, cookware, furniture and toys to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. Recent studies, however, have raised questions about whether triclosan might be hazardous to human health.

Research has shown that triclosan:

  • Alters hormone regulation in animals
  • Might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs
  • Might be harmful to the immune system

When you use a product containing triclosan, you can absorb a small amount through your skin or mouth. A 2008 study, which was designed to assess exposure to triclosan in a representative sample of U.S. children and adults, found triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 percent of those tested.

Triclosan isn't an essential ingredient in many products. While triclosan added to toothpaste has been shown to help prevent gingivitis, there's no evidence that antibacterial soaps and body washes containing triclosan provide any extra benefits, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

If you're concerned about triclosan, look for products that don't list triclosan in their ingredients.

Last Updated: 2011-05-27
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version