The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned triclosan and other antibacterial ingredients in hand and body washes, effective Sept. 6, 2017. (Included in this ban are Body Washes, Facial Soaps, and Hand Soaps)
Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that pollutes people and the environment. It is found in most Americans, where it may be interfering with the hormone and reproductive systems and increasing sensitivity to allergens. Although Triclosan will soon be banned from soaps because of concern that it is neither safe nor effective, yet it may be found in hundreds of other products. EWG’s review of industry documents and government databases on approved uses identified places all around the house where triclosan may be hiding.
Triclosan and other antimicrobials, added to many soaps and other everyday products – and found in the bodies of more than three-fourths of Americans – likely harm people’s health and the environment, while providing no benefit to consumers, said more than 200 scientists and medical professionals in a consensus statement published on June 20. The statement in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, coauthored by EWG, recommends an end to the indiscriminate and widespread use of triclosan, triclocarban and other antimicrobial chemicals in cosmetics and consumer products.
EWG and the scientists who signed the statement believe antimicrobials should only be used if adequate testing shows that they are safe and they have been proven effective for particular uses. Scientists are concerned that widespread use of antimicrobials in consumer products could contribute to growing antibiotic resistance and make the vital medical uses of antimicrobials ineffective. On September 6, as a result of many years of efforts by EWG and other public health and consumer interest organizations, a Food and Drug Administration ban will go into effect, prohibiting the use of triclosan, triclocarbon and 16 other antimicrobial chemicals in soap products. This action comes four decades after the FDA said it did not have data to show triclosan was safe or effective, and raised concern about human health and the amount absorbed through the skin. However, the agency will allow continued use of the chemicals in other personal care items. Triclosan in personal care products is just one part of the story. While the antimicrobials market changes all the time, triclosan is still approved for use in building materials, housewares, cleaning supplies, textiles and apparel, and outdoor and sports gear. It is also permitted in phones, toothbrushes and razors, and in children’s items, such as bibs, toys and playground equipment.