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What is it: Triclosan

July 10, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 4 Comments
Soaps and cleansers have a dirty little secret. It is called triclosan. It is an anti-bacterial that turns up in acne treatments, such as Murad's Acne Complex Clarifying Cleanser and Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel, as well as deodorants and soaps. Now a sizable posse of public health and environmental groups are lobbying for triclosan to be banned from non-medical products.

So how much evil can triclosan do? Along with a similar chemical, triclocarbon, it has been identified as a fish killer based on estuary sediment samples that date back to the 1960s, according to a recent study published in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology.

Personally, I don't want to be more responsible than can be helped for further depleting marine life. But if that doesn't do it for you, you should consider that triclosan is said to bioaccumulate in humans, rendering some antibiotics ineffective. The lobby groups have also pointed to the fact that studies have linked the chemical to endocrine system disruption, cancer and increased dermal sensitization.

For those of you (like me) who hadn't heard of tricolsan until now, it is sobering to discover that it is everywhere. A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found triclosan (or triclocarban) in 76%of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps on the market. The study also found that there are few documented benefits of triclosan. It is also in a lipstick by Revlon, Jason Natural Cosmetics and TotalSkinCare's makeup kit, to name but a few.

Triclosan works by targeting a biochemical pathway in the bacterium without destroying its cell wall. I have no understanding of why this is a good thing for chemists, but apparently it means that triclosan is increasingly in demand by personal care product makers. They, unsurprisingly, say evidence of risks to humans is inconclusive.

UPDATE: In April 2010, the FDA announced that it would review triclosan for safety. Although it said that it "is not known to be hazardous to humans", it noted that animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation.
  • March 26, 2009

    by Joan

    In the absence of soap and water and you want a Triclosan free hand sanitizer get Clean Well. They have a Triclosan free hand soap as well. Great products and you can get them at Target. Uses All-natural Ingenium (plant oils) instead of the Triclosan. Has a distinct smell of Thymye.
    No alcohol either - does not dry your hands and they fell so soft.

  • March 13, 2009

    by Ramesh

    Is there any alternative for Triclosan

  • December 31, 2008

    by MBurks

    I really hope they ban this ingredient. I found out a few years ago that I’m allergic to it.

    For almost a year, I couldn't understand why I was breaking out in hives on different parts of my body. One day my hands would be swollen and red, the next day I’d have a hive on my arm or leg or face. It was always in a different part of the body. It got to the point where I would take a Benadryl once I got up in the morning because I didn’t know what would set the off the breaking out.

    Then one day I was brushing my teeth with Colgate Total (which contains “Triclosan”) and a little of the tooth paste dripped on my hand and within minutes I got a hive. So I did a test and tried it again, this time on my other arm. Same reaction. And then it clicked! Anytime I had ever had a reaction was when I used the toothpaste or washed my hands with the anti-bacterial soap (which also contains “Triclosan”) I had around the house!

    Just to make sure, I stopped using all the products I had with Triclosan in it for about a week and then washed my hands with the Anti-bacterial soap and you guess it, my hands started to swell up (painfully!!), got red and I broke out in hives. So I stopped using anything with Triclosan in it and the hives haven’t come back.

    Unfortunately the world has gotten addicted to the stuff and now its everywhere! People around me at work use it to "wash" their hands, clean their desks. People who come out of restrooms after washing their hands will put on lotion that contain the ingredient and once that smell hits my nose, I know I only have a few minutes to pop a Benadryl before the welt starts coming.
    I’ve actually started carrying Benadryl around with me again just in case.

    Most people around me know I am allergic and will try to avoid using the product when I’m around but then there are others at work who continue to use it, giving me a sheepish “sorry” when I start getting sick.

    I'm actually rifling through my purse now for a Benadryl because the co-worker behind me just put on some lotion with that crap in it...even though she knows I'm allergic to it.

    I hate this ingredient and hope it does get banned and people can go back to washing with soap and water to keep themselves clean!!

  • July 12, 2008

    by Rev K L Maines

    <p>Greetings! Since the beginning of history, God has been revealing events to come to His people. On June 19, 2008 the Lord strongly impressed on me the need for His people to educate themselves concerning the products they buy and consume. I am writing this because I believe the Lord is warning His people of days to come. There are certain chemicals found in everyday products that are going to wreak havoc on our environment and well-being. One such chemical is Triclosan. Triclosan is an excellent product when used to protect healthcare providers treating patients with contagious diseases, such as medical professionals who are working in third-world countries during serious disease outbreaks. It can be a lifesaver to medical workers under those circumstances; however, the use of triclosan has not been tightly regulated, and it is now being overused in many products you and I use every day. </p>

    <p><br />
    The warning cry is that this chemical and similar compounds will end up killing us if we continue to misuse and overuse them. Overuse puts us all at risk at contracting antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and individually, triclosan-based products weaken our immune systems. Please do not use or purchase triclosan-based products.</p>

    <p><br />
    The dangers of the chemical Triclosan and similar tricloson-like products (such as Triclocarban and quaternary ammonium compounds):</p>

    <p><br />
    *Triclosan is found in hundreds of common everyday products, including nearly half of all commercial soaps.</p>

    <p><br />
    *It is used so frequently that triclosan has made its way into the human body - a Swedish study found triclosan in human breast milk in three out of five women. </p>

    <p><br />
    *Numerous studies have found that triclosan promotes the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. </p>

    <p><br />
    *Dioxin, a highly carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting compound, may be formed during the manufacturing process of triclosan, and thus is a likely contaminant. More alarmingly, researchers found that when sunlight is shined on triclosan in water and on fabric, a portion of triclosan is transformed into dioxin. Because of its ubiquitous nature, the conversion to dioxin is of major concern.</p>

    <p><br />
    *Triclosan is one of the most frequently detected compounds in rivers, streams, and other bodies of water, often in high concentrations. Triclosan is highly toxic to a number of different types of algae. Since algae are the primary producers in many aquatic ecosystems, high levels of triclosan may have destructive effects on aquatic ecosystems.</p>

    <p><br />
    *The American Medical Association took an official stance against adding antimicrobials to consumer products in 2000 and has repeatedly urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better regulate these chemicals. </p>

    <p><br />
    For more information use the search button (above) and type in: "Triclosan."</p>

    <p><br />
    The single most important thing you can do in your life is to establish a personal relationship with Jesus, in which He is your personal Lord and Savior. If you have not yet accepted Jesus into your life, you can do so now, by praying this prayer:</p>

    <p><br />
    "Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus is the Messiah and He died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. Amen." </p>

    <p><br />
    Blessings to you,<br />
    Rev. K. L. Maines<br />
    Duly Ordained Pastor/Evangelist<br />
    For Prayer email me at : RevMaines@aol.com</p>

    <p><br />
    VISIT OUR BLOG <a href="http://klmainesministries.blogspot.com/search?q=" rel="nofollow">http://klmainesministries.blogspot.com/search?q=</a></p>

    <p><br />
    Triclosan is found in the following products:</p>

    <p><br />
    Soaps:</p>

    <p>* Dial® Liquid Soap<br />
    * Softsoap® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap<br />
    * Tea Tree Therapy™ Liquid Soap<br />
    * Provon® Soap<br />
    * Clearasil® Daily Face Wash<br />
    * Dermatologica® Skin Purifying Wipes<br />
    * Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser<br />
    * DermaKleen™ Antibacterial Lotion Soap<br />
    * Naturade Aloe Vera 80® Antibacterial Soap<br />
    * CVS Antibacterial Soap<br />
    * pHisoderm Antibacterial Skin Cleanser</p>

    <p>Dental Care:</p>

    <p>* Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Triclosan Mouthwash<br />
    * Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush<br />
    * Janina Diamond Whitening Toothpaste</p>

    <p>Cosmetics:</p>

    <p>* Supre® Café Bronzer™<br />
    * TotalSkinCare Makeup Kit<br />
    * Garden Botanika® Powder Foundation<br />
    * Mavala Lip Base<br />
    * Jason Natural Cosmetics<br />
    * Blemish Cover Stick<br />
    * Movate® Skin Litening Cream HQ<br />
    * Paul Mitchell Detangler Comb<br />
    * Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss<br />
    * Dazzle</p>

    <p>Deodorant:</p>

    <p>* Old Spice High Endurance Stick Deodorant<br />
    * Right Guard Sport Deodorant<br />
    * Queen Helene® Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant<br />
    * Nature De France Le Stick Natural Stick Deodorant<br />
    * DeCleor Deodorant Stick<br />
    * Epoch® Deodorant with Citrisomes<br />
    * X Air Maximum Strength Deodorant</p>

    <p>Other Personal Care Products:</p>

    <p>* Gillette® Complete Skin Care MultiGel Aerosol Shave Gel<br />
    * Murad Acne Complex® Kit®<br />
    * Diabet-x™ Cream<br />
    * T.Taio™ sponges and wipes<br />
    * Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel</p>

    <p>First Aid:</p>

    <p>* SyDERMA® Skin Protectant plus First Aid Antiseptic<br />
    * Solarcaine®<br />
    * First Aid Medicated Spray;<br />
    Nexcare™ First Aid<br />
    * Skin Crack Care<br />
    * First Aid/Burn Cream<br />
    * HealWell® Night Splint<br />
    * 11-1X1: Universal Cervical Collar with Microban</p>

    <p>Kitchenware:</p>

    <p>* Farberware® Microban Steakknife Set and Cutting Boards<br />
    * Franklin Machine Products FMP Ice Cream Scoop SZ 20 Microban<br />
    * Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer<br />
    * Chix® Food Service Wipes with Microban<br />
    * Compact Web Foot® Wet Mop Heads</p>

    <p>Computer Equipment:</p>

    <p>* Fellowes Cordless Microban Keyboard and Microban Mouse Pad</p>

    <p>Clothes:</p>

    <p>* Teva® Sandals<br />
    * Merrell Shoes<br />
    * Sabatier Chef's Apron<br />
    * Dickies Socks<br />
    * Fruit of the Loom Socks<br />
    * Biofresh® Socks</p>

    <p>Children's Toys:</p>

    <p>* Playskool® :<br />
    o Stack 'n Scoop Whale<br />
    o Rockin' Radio<br />
    o Hourglass<br />
    o Sounds Around Driver<br />
    o Roll 'n' Rattle Ball<br />
    o Animal Sounds Phone<br />
    o Busy Beads Pal<br />
    o Pop 'n' Spin Top<br />
    o Lights 'n' Surprise Laptop</p>

    <p>Other:</p>

    <p>* Bionare® Cool Mist Humidifier<br />
    * Microban® All Weather Reinforced Hose<br />
    * Thomasville® Furniture<br />
    * Deciguard AB Ear Plugs<br />
    * Bauer® 5000 Helmet<br />
    * Aquatic Whirlpools<br />
    * Miller Paint Interior Paint<br />
    * QVC® Collapsible 40-Can Cooler<br />
    * Holmes Foot Buddy™ Foot Warmer<br />
    * Blue Mountain Wall Coverings<br />
    * California Paints®<br />
    * EHC AMRail Escalator Handrails<br />
    * Dupont™ Air Filters<br />
    * Durelle™ Carpet Cushions<br />
    * Advanta One Laminate Floors<br />
    * San Luis Blankets<br />
    * J Cloth® towels<br />
    * JERMEX mops</p>

    <p>Source: BeyondPesticides.org</p>

    <p><br />
    References taken from the CDC website:<br />
    <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no3_supp/levy.htm" rel="nofollow">http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no3_supp/levy.htm</a></p>

    <p>1.*Neu HC. The crisis in antibiotic resistance. Science 1992;257:1064-73. <br />
    2.*Levy SB. The antibiotic paradox. How miracle drugs are destroying the miracle. New York: Plenum; 1992. <br />
    3.*McMurry LM, Oethinger M, Levy SB. Triclosan targets lipid synthesis. Nature 1998;394:531-2. <br />
    4.*McMurry LM, Oethinger M, Levy SB. Overexpression of marA, soxS or acrAB produces resistance to triclosan in Escherichia coli. FEMS Microbiol Lett 1998;166:305-9. <br />
    5.*Suller MT, Russell AD. Triclosan and antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus. J Antimicrob Chemother 2000;46:11-8. <br />
    6.*Hoang TT, Schweizer HP. Characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (FabI): a target for the antimicrobial triclosan and its role in homoserine lactone synthesis. J Bacteriol 1999;181:5489-97. <br />
    7.*Russell AD, Tattawasart U, Maillard J-Y, Furr JR. Possible link between bacterial resistance and use of antibiotics and biocides. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1998;42:2151. <br />
    8.*Mereghetti L, Quentin R, Marquet-van der Mee N, Audurier A. Low sensitivity of Listeria monocytogenes to quaternary ammonium compounds. Appl Environ Microbiol 2000;66:5083-6. <br />
    9.*McMurry LM, McDermott PF, Levy SB. Genetic evidence that InhA of Mycobacterium smegmatis is a target for triclosan. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1999;43:711-3. <br />
    10.*Heath RJ, Roch CO. A triclosan-resistant bacterial enzyme. Nature 2000;406:145-6. <br />
    11.*Radosti-Slater C, Aller GV, DeWolf W, Greenwood R, Nicholas R, Payne D, et al. Mode of action of triclosan in S. aureus [abstract]. American Society for Microbiology annual meeting, Los Angeles, California, 2000 May 21-24. Abstract 101, p. 26. <br />
    12.*Meade MJ, Callahan TM. Unique mechanism of triclosan resistance identified in environmental isolates [abstract]. American Society for Microbiology annual meeting, Los Angeles, California, 2000 May 21-24. Abstract 73, p. 19. <br />
    13.*Suzangar S, Allison DG, Gilbert P. An evaluation of biocide-containing materials for their surface colonization-resistance and other properties [abstract] American Society for Microbiology annual meeting, Los Angeles, California, 2000 May 21-24. Abstract 53, p. 17. <br />
    14.*Alekshun MN, Levy SB. The mar regulon: multiple resistance to antibiotics and other toxic insults. Trends Microbiol 1999;7:410-3. <br />
    15.*Barbosa T, Levy SB. Differential expression of over 60 chromosomal genes in Escherichia coli by constitutive expression of MarA. J Bacteriol 2000;182:3467-74. <br />
    16.*Chuanchuen R, Beinlich K, Schweizer HP. Multidrug efflux pumps and triclosan resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa [abstract]. American Society for Microbiology annual meeting, Los Angeles, California, 2000 May 21-24. Abstract 31, p. 8. <br />
    17.*Akimitsu N, Hamamoto H, Inoue R, Shoji M, Akamine A, Takemori K, et al. Increase in resistance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to beta-lactams caused by mutations conferring resistance to benzalkonium chloride, a disinfectant widely used in hospitals. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1999;43:3042-3. <br />
    18.*Strachan DP. Hay fever, hygiene, and household size. BMJ 1989;299:1259-60. <br />
    19.*Braun-Fahrl*nder CH, Gassner M, Grize L, Neu U, Sennhauser FH, Varonier HS, et al. Prevalence of hay fever and allergic sensitization in farmer's children and their peers living in the same rural community. Clin Exp Allergy 1999;29:28-34. <br />
    20.*Rook GAW, Stanford JL. Give us this day our daily germs. Immunol Today 1998;19:113-6. <br />
    21.*Matricardi PM, Rosmini F, Riondino S, Fortini M, Ferrigno L, Rapicetta M, et al. Exposure to foodborne and orofecal microbes versus airbone viruses in relation to atopy and allergic asthma: epidemiological study. BMJ 2000;320:412-7. <br />
    22.*Aaby P, Shaheen SO, Heyes CB, Goudiaby A, Hall AJ, Shiell AW, et al. Early BCG vaccination and reduction in atopy in Guinea-Bissau. Clin Exp Allergy 2000;30:644-50. <br />
    23.*Folkerts G, Walzl G, Openshaw PJM. Do common childhood infections "teach" the immune system not to be allergic? Immunol Today 2000;21:118-20. </p>

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