The American Cleaning Institute has issued a reminder to consumers that antibacterial ingredient triclosan, used in personal care and hand-hygiene products, has a track record of being safe and effective.
The announcement comes following a preliminary screening of the ingredient by Health Canada and Environment Canada, in which officials reiterated that triclosan-containing products are safe for consumers to use.
“ACI will thoroughly review the Canadian government’s draft safety assessment of triclosan, which is a preliminary assessment, not a final decision. We will share updated science and research that affirms the environmental safety of triclosan,” said Richard Sedlak, ACI senior vice president, Technical & International Affairs.
Triclosan is found in products such as antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics, and is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the European Union.
“Antibacterial soaps and washes play a beneficial role in the daily hygiene routines of millions of people throughout the US and worldwide,” added Sedlak.
“A number of governmental bodies in the US and around the world have determined the safe uses of triclosan and the products containing it; product manufacturers must abide by those safety rules.”
Concerns have been raised over the ingredient, over the efficacy of triclosan and whether it should be included in products given that it there may be no benefit from its inclusion, and that it could react dangerously with other ingredients.
However, ACI says that science-based research and data show triclosan is safe for use in regulated hygiene products, does not cause significant risks or harm to human health and the environment, and does not contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
ACI also reiterated that triclosan-containing antibacterial handwash products provide a benefit compared to non-antibacterial hand wash products.
“Antibacterial hand washes provide a public health benefit by reducing or eliminating pathogenic bacteria on the skin to a significantly greater degree than plain soap and water,” said Sedlak. “The bacterial reduction from hand washing is linked to reduced infection from pathogenic bacteria.”