Two ingredients used in thousands of products to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses linger in the environment and pose a risk to human health, according to a statement released today by more than 200 scientists and health professionals.
The scientists say the possible benefits in most uses of triclosan and triclocarban – used in some soaps, toothpastes, detergents, paints, carpets – are not worth the risk.
“Triclosan and triclocarban have been permitted for years without definitive proof they’re providing benefits.”
Avery Lindeman, Green Policy Institute
The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban documents a consensus of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals on the hazards of and lack of demonstrated benefit from common uses of triclosan and triclocarban.
These chemicals may be used in thousands of personal care and consumer products as well as in building materials. Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, this statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms. Evidence of other hazards to humans and ecosystems from triclosan and triclocarban is presented along with recommendations intended to prevent future harm from triclosan, triclocarban, and antimicrobial substances with similar properties and effects.
Because antimicrobials can have unintended adverse health and environmental impacts, they should only be used when they provide an evidence-based health benefit. Greater transparency is needed in product formulations, and before an antimicrobial is incorporated into a product, the long-term health and ecological impacts should be evaluated.
Sources, Studies, Press Releases
- The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban, Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP1788, JUNE 2017.
- Patterns, Variability, and Predictors of Urinary Triclosan Concentrations during Pregnancy and Childhood, Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b00325, May 18, 2017
- Hundreds of scientists call for caution on anti-microbial chemical use, EHN, June 20, 2017.
- Hygiene leaves kids with loads of triclosan, EHN, June 1, 2017.
- Image credit Mike Mozart.