The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reevaluating the safety of antibacterial consumer products containing triclosan, in light of studies suggesting that this chemical may interfere with hormone function or contribute to antibacterial resistance.
Triclosan is a widely used antimicrobial found in FDA-regulated products such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, and cosmetics, and in other products that fall under the jurisdiction of other federal regulators, such as clothing, kitchen items, furniture, and toys. The agency said there is no evidence to date suggesting that triclosan is hazardous to humans, but several studies have found that triclosan can contribute to the development of bacterial resistance (Aiello AE et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2007;45[suppl 2]:S137-S147). In addition, animal studies have found that the chemical can interfere with thyroid function (Paul KB et al. Toxicol Sci. 2010;113:367-379).