Does Triclosan Cause Health Troubles?

Even if you've never heard or said the word, you're intimately familiar with triclosan. This antibacterial compound is found in toothpaste, cleansers, deodorant, hand sanitizers, and even common household objects like trash bags and toys. However, despite its ability to reduce and control bacteria, some people want it removed from the products we use.

The FDA says they don't have "sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time," but feeling the pressure from activists and politicians like Congressman Edward Markey, they are moving up a planned review of the ingredient.

Concerns over triclosan include endochrine disruption, bioaccumulation, and the forming of chloroform gas when mixed with chlorinated water, although these effects have yet to be proven to impact humans.

Organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council are pleased that the FDA is setting their triclosan investigation as a higher priority, but the Soap and Detergent Association insists that the compound, which has been used for decades, is safe.