Minnesota recently became the first state to ban triclosan, a common antibacterial agent found in personal-hygiene products and household cleaners. It is also a suspected toxin.
Legislators cited growing health and environmental concerns associated with the ingredient, which has been widely used in retail products in the United States for three decades.
“In order to prevent the spread of infectious disease and avoidable infections and to promote best practices in sanitation, no person shall offer for retail sale in Minnesota any cleaning product that contains triclosan and is used by consumers for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing,” states the law.
Although the Minnesota ban won’t go into effect until 2017, it’s possible that manufacturers will begin to phase out the questionable ingredient before then, due to growing consumer concerns. A recent court ruling requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the safety and efficacy of triclosan by 2016, the first such review since 1978, when the FDA failed to make a determination.
Currently, the FDA claims that triclosan has been shown to alter hormone regulation in animals but is “not known to be hazardous to humans.”
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and other consumer groups, however, triclosan is believed to be an endocrine disruptor — meaning it messes with hormone production and regulation — and may cause neurological damage.
The NRDC points to infertility in adults, developmental problems in children, weakened muscle function, worsened allergies, and the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria as possible consequences of triclosan use.
Learn more about triclosan, other possible toxins, and their alternatives in these stories from Experience Life’s archives: