While the US Food and Drug Administration continues its review of the germ-killing chemical triclosan, found in many soaps and toothpastes, the state of Minnesota has taken its own course by implementing a ban on the chemical linked to health and environmental problems.
Minnesota’s new law will not take effect until 2017, but it retrains the spotlight on triclosan and bolsters the arguments of many scientific researchers who have attempted to bring their concerns about triclosan to the public.
Triclosan has been popular in consumer products such as body washes, deodorants, hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps for decades. It’s also found in products such as laundry detergent, tissues and garbage bags. But some studies have suggested that the chemical may pass through the skin and disrupt hormones critical to reproduction and development. It has also been used as a pesticide, and is considered dangerous to the environment, particularly marine life.
IUPAC ID: 5-chloro-2- (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol
Boiling point: 120 °C
Melting point: 55 °C
Molar mass: 289.54 g/mol
Density: 1.49 g/cm³
Health Canada is awaiting the outcome of the FDA review, before deciding further action at this point. Triclosan is also being reviewed under the Canada’s chemical management plan, which considers how to reduce the release of hazardous substances into the environment.
According to Health Canada, there are currently about 1,600 cosmetics and personal care products containing triclosan sold in Canada.
Scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found triclosan in the urine of 75 per cent of the 2,500 subjects aged six and older that were tested for a study.
What is FDA doing to evaluate the safety of triclosan?
We are engaged in a comprehensive scientific and regulatory review of all the available safety and effectiveness data. This includes data relevant to the emerging safety issues of bacterial resistance and endocrine disruption due to triclosan in FDA-regulated products.
We also have partnered with other Federal Agencies to study the effects of this substance on animal and environmental health CLICK HERE
FDA is working to incorporate the most up-to-date data and information into the regulations that govern the use of triclosan in consumer products. FDA anticipates communicating the findings of our review to the public in winter 2012 through our rulemaking process.
FDA has updated its "Guidance Agenda: New and Revised Draft Guidances CDER is Planning to Publish During Calendar Year 2012," to include "Guidance for Industry: Endocrine Disruption Potential of Drugs: Nonclinical Evaluation."
This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.