Triclosan Still Used In Many U.S. Household Products, Despite Ban

Despite serious health concerns about the risk of exposure to antimicrobial chemicals, such as triclosan, a new report suggests that the chemicals are still heavily used in hand sanitizers and other household products, without any required warning labels.

According to a CNN report this week, many children’s toys, pool toys, clothing, pacifier pockets, building blocks and various other items commonly found throughout U.S. homes contain antimicrobial chemicals, particularly triclosan, which was banned from antibacterial soap along with 18 other chemicals last year.

The FDA banned the chemicals after manufacturers failed to demonstrate their effectiveness or establish that exposure to the chemicals carries no safety risks. The FDA first proposed the ban in 2013, then gave final approval in September 2016.

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According to CNN, while triclosan has been removed from hand sanitizers and other products where it was an active ingredient, its use persists in numerous other products which were not included in the ban, and which do not have to warn consumers on the label that triclosan was used during their manufacture.

This means that while consumers may think they have gotten rid of triclosan, or that they can no longer be exposed to it in hand soaps and other products, it still may be in their home in everything from scissors to markers, and from plush toys to pacifiers.

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent that was first introduced to the market in the early 1970’s by the chemical company Ciba as part of a surgical scrub kit. It quickly became a popular antimicrobial agent in everyday products and even in children’s toys, with the goal of making them safer. However, recent research has indicated that exposure to the chemical can cause hormonal and developmental complications.

The risks associated with exposure to antimicrobial chemicals such as triclosan have been widely debated among researchers and the scientific community for years. Until the FDA began performing studies to determine the risks the chemicals pose to humans, triclosan was widely used in hand sanitizer products.

After studies indicated triclosan was linked to the disruption of hormone function and the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, the FDA banned the use of the chemical in addition to 18 other similar chemical ingredients in hand sanitizers due to the unacceptable risks to humans and the environment.

Another study revealed triclosan may interrupt fetal development, slowing the development of an unborn baby after exposure to the mother. High levels may cause serious side effects to the baby.

The National Toxicology Program, at the request of at FDA, looked at the potential for antibacterials to cause cancer through skin exposure to triclosan. Research published in 2014, revealed a link between triclosan and an increased risk of liver disease and development of cancerous tumors.

According to Beyond Pesticides, which is a non-profit organization that acts on the publics behalf in performing research on the true health and harmful risks chemicals in everyday products contain, Triclosan is used in more products than we know due to the regulating agencies failing to require manufacturers to fully disclose the chemical ingredients used in their products.


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