Although the market for “antibacterial” products remains strong, public opinion on triclosan is turning. In the past two years, pressure from activists and U.S. policy makers, as well as emerging science have forced federal agencies to finally begin a thorough investigation of this toxic pesticide.
U.S. consumers spend an estimated $1 billion per year on “antibacterial” soaps and other household and personal care products, many of which contain triclosan. It is estimated that 76 percent of liquid soaps and 29 percent of bar soaps on the market contain triclosan or triclocarban, another commonly used antibacterial chemical. Yet research published between 2008 and 2010 demonstrates the many ways triclosan negatively impacts public and environmental health. The sheer number of new studies on triclosan published over the past two years punctuates this growing concern. The manufacturers of “antibacterial” products that use triclosan, may soon find that they have no choice but to remove this chemical from their formulations. In particular, the most recent literature highlights triclosan’s considerable human and environmental health effects. What is emerging is a clearer picture of the effects of triclosan on the individual and the food chain.