FDA takes action on triclosan after 35 years

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Regulatory body substance decision
The Food and Drug Administration has agreed to issue a new rule governing the use of the antimicrobial agent by 2016, a decision that's been in the making since 1978.

After 35 years of looking into Triclosan, the Authority has signed a new court agreement with the Natural Resources Defence Council to govern its' use in the industry.

The substance has been at the centre of many industry debates over the decades in regards to its safety, with some calling for it to be completely banned from products.

In recent years lobby groups claimed the chemical to be an endocrine system disruptor, and criticised the FDA's 'lengthy approval process' on the matter.

However; refusing to be rushed in its efforts, the Administration continued to state that it was still "too early to make a final judgement​" right up until 2010.

However, many companies have already taken efforts to remove triclosan from their products, or pledged not to use it, particularly in Europe.


Triclosan first appeared in the 1960s as an anti-bacterial agent designed to slow or stop the growth of bacteria, fungi and mildew.

The ingredient has since become popular for personal care products that incorporate anti-bacterial agents, particularly liquid soap hand sanitizers, as well as toothpaste, deodorants and cosmetics, and is also used extensively in medical environments.

Previous research that has focused on the effects of triclosan on the environment have shown that it enters waterways such as streams and rivers through domestic wastewater, leaks in sewer systems and sewer overflows, causing damage to the environment.

FDA sheds light on why its processes are so lengthy 

Representatives of the US Food and Drug Administration recently appeared before a Committee where they were asked to shed some light on some of its' lengthy approving processes.  

At an oversight hearing by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation discussed pending sunscreen applications whilst also giving insight into why some processes take so long.

If possible, we are more frustrated than the manufacturers and you all are about this situation. The problem is that we have to do regulations to get these ingredients into monographs and they are backlogged and slow to get through," ​she explained.

Related topics Regulation & Safety

Related news

Show more