FDA and SDA Address Triclosan Concern

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its Web site on Apr. 8, 2010, with its most recent information on triclosan. According to the FDA, triclosan provides benefit to a number of personal care products, and it does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan. However, the FDA also did not have evidence that triclosan provided any additional benefit when added to antibacterial soaps and body washes.

It is common knowledge that triclosan is an ingredient formulated in antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes and some cosmetics to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination.

In January 2010, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) , chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, sent a letter to the FDA requesting information about the status of FDA’s ongoing review of triclosan in consumer products.

The FDA stated that there was not sufficient safety evidence to change consumer use of products that contain triclosan. The FDA found that triclosan provides a clear benefit to some consumer products, while its health benefit to some is still questionable. The agency did not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.

In response to the FDA's review of triclosan, the the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) noted, "The Food and Drug Administration has in its hands a wealth of scientific data showing a distinct germ killing benefit of antibacterial soaps containing triclosan.” It referenced two scientific papers demonstrating the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps in comparison to non-antibacterial soaps. It supports the use of antibacterial hygeine and cleaning products to prevent the transmission of bacteria and diseases and defends the safety of antibacterial ingredients such as triclosan, as they are regulated by government bodies.

In regard to Markey’s concerns, the SDA commented, “We want Congressman Markey to be aware of the wealth of high quality scientific data that has been provided to both Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and FDA on the safety and efficacy of antimicrobial products.”

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