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FDA bans Triclosan from antibacterial soaps

Triclosan, an antibacterial compound used ubiquitously in soaps and other personal care products since the 1970's, was banned from use in soaps on September 2, 2016. 

The FDA found that Triclosan was no more effective than regular soap and water for cleaning hands and killing bacteria, and that there is some evidence that antibacterial compounds could actually create other problems in the long term.

Triclosan has been shown to have endocrine disrupting properties which could effect fertility and brain development. One study out of UC Davis showed Triclosan impairing heart function in animals.

Triclosan has also been implicated in waterways despite being removed in most wastewater treatment plants. A recent study by the USGS found the antibacterial in 58% of freshwater streams. One of the biggest problems with Triclosan is that it breaks down in soils and sediments once released to the environment, and some of these breakdown products are actually more harmful and endocrine disrupting than Triclosan.

While this is a huge victory for groups like the National Environmental Defense Council, who sued the FDA to look further into Triclosan efficacy and potential harmful effects. However, the ban only covers soaps, and Triclosan is still used in other personal care products such as toothpaste and even toys.

If you're wondering how to stay healthy and keep your hands clean without using an antibacterial soap containing triclosan, look no further than normal soap and water with good hand washing practices. Check out the CDC's guide on handwashing below:


For more on triclosan and the recent ban: