Triclosan in the News

by R. Gaertner


Triclosan is an antimicrobial ingredients used in many personal care products such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste and cleaning products to give them bacteria-fighting qualities.  Those who love Lake Harriet should be paying attention to the recent news coverage about Triclosan.

A recent study by the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota ( has shown that Triclosan is converting to harmful toxins in our Minnesota lakes as well as Lake Superior. When triclosan is exposed to chlorine during wastewater disinfection and then exposed to sunlight, the byproduct can form dioxins that have potential toxic effects. Such dioxins were detected in the lakes during the study.  In light of this and other recent research and data both the EPA and the FDA have scheduled another review of Triclosan in 2013.

How do you know if a product contains Triclosan? Always read the label ingredients for products you purchase. Triclosan will be listed as an active ingredient on the product label.

How to dispose of products containing Triclosan? According to the Minnesota Pollution Control (PCA), “Do not put Triclosan down the drain or toilet!” At the present time their advice is to throw Triclosan products in the trash. In the future they hope to have a better plan to dispose of them. The best action is to NOT purchase any product with Triclosan. “Consumer avoidance can be more powerful than any legislation!” says the Minnesota PCA.


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