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June 29, 2017 06:20 PM

Healthbeat: Triclosan

We all use cleaning products, toothpaste and shampoo products nearly every single day. But you may not have heard of an ingredient that could still be in some of them called Triclosan.  Although it's been banned by the FDA in household antibacterial soaps, it can still be found in some products we use.

According to the FDA, the germ-fighting agent Triclosan can still be found in some products, from toothpaste and cosmetics, to clothing and toys. 

 "I think the primary reason is there is claim for antibacterial properties to decrease risk of infection and risk of disease, " Avera Medical Director-Infectious Diseases, Dr. Jawad Nazir said.

While Triclosan is regulated by the FDA when it comes to certain products, others are not. Recently, scientists around the world have been demanding that Triclosan be taken out of all consumer products.  

 "There may be some concern for some public safety issues, so that may include antimicrobial resistance which is a major health problem. Also, there is some concern for some hormonal issues like decreasing thyroid levels as well as some concern for skin cancer, " Nazir said.

Triclosan is already banned in some countries, including Canada and Europe. Minnesota passed a first in the nation ban last year. Now the F-D-A is calling for a similar ban starting this September. 

 Both Dr. Nazir and the F-D-A say there is no research that shows that products with antibacterial additives are any more effective than plain soap and water.

 "There is no strong clinical evidence that favors that this is effective to decrease the risk of infection or to decrease the risk of transmission, " Nazir said.

" The FDA says there is research that shows the use of Triclosan in products like toothpaste have helped with gum disease like gingivitis," 

However, according to a report in the New York Times last fall, Colgate Total is the only toothpaste  sold in the U-S that contains Triclosan. 

According to the company's website, the toothpaste is safe and it provides safety updates to the F-D-A each year.

Many companies have already removed Triclosan from their products. 

If you do find antibacterial soaps with the chemical still listed on the label, it is likely an older product.



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