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ACI Affirms Safety of Triclosan in Hand Wash Products

Posted: April 2, 2012

In light of a Canadian government review of a key antibacterial ingredient, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) released a statement reminding consumers that triclosan has a decades-long track record of safe and effective use in personal care and hand hygiene products.

After a preliminary screening assessment of triclosan by Health Canada and Environment Canada, officials there reiterated that triclosan-containing products are safe for consumers to use. “Antibacterial soaps and washes play a beneficial role in the daily hygiene routines of millions of people throughout the U.S. and worldwide,” said Richard Sedlak, ACI senior vice president, technical and international affairs. “They have been and are used safely and effectively in homes, hospitals and workplaces every single day. Furthermore, a number of governmental bodies in the U.S. and around the world have determined the safe uses of triclosan and the products containing it; product manufacturers must abide by those safety rules.”

Refuting misleading statements and distortions made by proponents of restrictions on triclosan beyond those set by governments, ACI said 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. It 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.”