More than 200 scientists call for restrictions on triclosan and triclocarban use and production

More than 200 scientists and health professionals are urging the international community to ‘limit the production and use’ of the antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban, citing ‘extensive peer-reviewed research’ that indicates they are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors. In a statement released on 20 June, the scientists and doctors call for more research into the environmental impact of these chemicals.

This ‘Florence Statement’ also recommends that scientists, governments and chemical manufacturers use safer alternatives when antimicrobials are necessary. Its authors further advise that all products containing triclosan, triclocarban and other antimicrobials should be labelled as such, even in cases where no health claims are made.

In September 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned 19 antimicrobial ingredients in over-the-counter consumer antiseptic soaps including triclosan and triclocarban. That decision was based on a lack of evidence demonstrating their safety for long-term daily use, and the agency gave companies a year to rid their antibacterial products of the ingredients. In contrast, the government of Canada announced just a couple of months later that it would continue to allow the use of the triclosan in consumer products like soap and hand sanitiser, saying it is not a human health concern.

Meanwhile, the EU has banned triclosan in food contact products since 2010. In June 2015, the EU announced that triclosan will be phased-out for hygienic uses and replaced by safer alternatives. This European phase-out of the chemical from personal care products began this year.