Hidden Chemical In Personal Care Products: Triclosan

Do Antibacterial Products Cause More Harm Than Good?

hidden chemical

Tricolsan is a preservative and anti-bacterial agent and a hidden chemical in personal care. It is widely used in antiperspirants, deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers, and as an anti-bacterial agent in laundry detergent, facial tissues, and antiseptic.  


  • antiperspirant
  • deodorant
  • hand sanitizer
  • laundry detergent
  • antiseptic
  • toothpaste

WHAT TO LOOK FORclearlife beauty

Triclosan (TSC) and triclocarban (TCC)


Endocrine Disruption: Evidence suggests that tricolsan is an endocrine disruptor and impacts thyroid function and thyroid homeostasis (1) (2)

Tricolsan-resistant bacteria: There is mounting evidence that suggests the use of tricolsan promotes bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic medications and antibacterial products (3)(4).  A 2010 study by the European Commissions Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety determined that low concentrations of triclosan can encourage the growth of antimicrobial drug-resistant bacteria.

Bioaccumulation / Environmental Toxicity: Triclosan accumulates in fatty tissue, and has been found in human milk samples (5) as well as the umbilical cord blood of infants (6). Triclosan and triclocarban are more likely to kill algae, crustaceans and fish than they are microbes (7).  Due to the extensive use of triclosan, these chemicals often ends up in sewage systems, and non agricultural settings, which can lead to exposure to plants, soil-dwelling biota, and their predators (8)

TIP:  The FDA found no evidence that anti-bacterial washes containing triclsan are any more effective at protecting against bacteria than regular soap and water (9).

Read More

  1. BHA
  2. Coal Tar Dyes
  3. DEA
  4. Dibutyl Phthalate
  5. Formaldehyde
  6. Parabens
  7. Parfum
  8. PEG Compounds
  9. Petrolatum
  10. Siloxanes
  11. Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  12. Triclosan


  1. Zorrilla L, Gibson EK, Jeffay SC, Crofton KM, Setzer Wr, Cooper RL, and Stoker TE. “The effects of Triclosan on Puberty and Thyroid Hormones in Male Wistar Rats.” 107(1) 56-64. Print.
  2. Ahn KC, Zhao B, Chen J, Cherednichenko G, Sanmarti E, Denison MS, Lasley B, Pessah IN, Kültz D, Chang DP, Gee SJ, Hammock BD. “In vitro biologic activities of the antimicrobials triclocarban, its analogs, and triclosan in bioassay screens: receptor-based bioassay screens.” Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Sep;116(9):1203-10. Print.
  3. Heath R, Li J, Roland GE, and Rock CO. “Inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus NADPH-dependent enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase by triclosan and hexachlorophene.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 275: 4654-9. Print.
  4. Aiello AE, Marshall B, Levy SB, Della-Latta P, Lin SX, and Larson E. “Antibacterial Cleaning Products and Drug Resistance.” Emerging Infectious Diseases. 11(10): 1565–1570. Print.
  5. Adolfsson-Erici M, Pettersson M, Parkkonen J, and Sturve J. “Triclosan, a commonly used bactericide found in human milk and in the aquatic environment in Sweden.” Chemosphere. 46(9-10):1485-9. Print.

Greenpeace and WWF. A Present for Life: Hazardous chemicals in umbilical cord blood. Available online: http://eu.greenpeace.org/downloads/chem/Umbilicalcordreport.pdf.