Unsafe by definition? Triclosan

Consumer Reports News: May 05, 2010 02:17 PM

What it is: Look at the label of your antibacterial soap or body wash and you are likely to see the ingredient triclosan. This common chemical, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says shows up in the urine of 75 percent of the population, is added to many consumer products to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. In addition to such personal care items as toothpaste and cosmetics, it's also found in everything from clothing to kitchenware to furniture and toys.
Why it's news: The Food and Drug Administration is taking a second look at triclosan after animal studies revealed that it can alter hormone regulation. The FDA hasn't taken a close look at triclosan since it reviewed Colgate Total toothpaste in 1997 and currently the agency does not classify triclosan as hazardous to humans. However, newer studies have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In light of this information and at the request of Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass), the FDA is conducting a scientific and regulatory review of the ingredient, which is expected to be completed next year. Markey wants triclosan banned from all products designed for children as well as any product that comes into contact with food.

The European Union and other countries have banned or restricted triclosan. Still, the FDA says it doesn't yet have enough evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain it. At the same time, the agency says it has no proof that washing with soap with triclosan is better than washing with soap without the ingredient.Consumers concerned about using hand and body soaps with triclosan should wash with regular soap. Check the label.

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