With cold and flu season upon us, our Big Baddie Ingredient focus is 


In September 2016, the FDA announced a ban on Triclosan.  Triclosan (and related ingredient Triclocarban) is an antibacterial agent widely used in soaps, hand washes, toothpastes, personal care, toys, furniture and other consumer products.  The EWG had been pressing the FDA for years to get rid of Triclosan.   According to the FDA, the ban includes 18 other antibacterial related ingredients in antiseptic wash products and came about when companies were not able to provide evidence of the safety and effectiveness of these ingredients.   Before we all go out and celebrate, recognize that this ban has its limitations.


Triclosan causes endocrine disruption, allergies, organ system toxicity and skin irritation. Because of its widespread use, it is found in urine and breastmilk and can be passed to babies in utero.   It may also lead to antibiotic resistance.   According to the Pub Med Database National Institutes of Health (NIH), Triclosan is known as a xenoestrogen (estrogen mimicking compound) and recent research shows it may play a role in the development of cancer.   Environmental impacts include contamination of waterways resulting in a negative impact on fragile aquatic ecosystems.   It is highly toxic to algae and may cause reproductive and developmental effects in fish.  Triclosan was found in the sediment on the bottom of the Great Lakes.   These health and environmental concerns inspired Minnesota to ban it in wash products effective January 2017. 


1. PRODUCTS INVOLVED   It is  important to note that the FDA ban is restricted to wash products  that are used with water and rinsed off - specifically antibacterial hand soaps.  Triclosan is still permitted in toothpastes and consumer products, including plastics claiming to have "germ-killing" properties.   We even have seen this claim on school pencils and office stampers.  

2.  SCARY SUBSTITUTIONS  The FDA gave companies one year to get triclosan-containing hand soaps off the market, and banned 18 other antibacterial ingredients  in soaps.   Some manufacturers have already started removing these ingredients from their products, and concerns are being raised over their substitutions.   Some are now turning to  benzalkonium chloridebenzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol which the FDA will allow for ANOTHER year until adequate data regarding the safety and effectiveness of these ingredients is provided. 

3.  PLAIN SOAP AND WATER IS BEST  There is a public opinion that we need to be using germ-killing  ingredients to prevent the spread of illness.   The FDA now recommends that washing with plain soap and warm water is best to prevent germ spreading.   When on the go, and in need of a sanitizer, the CDC recommends using an alcohol based sanitizer. 

This is another important reason to READ labels and understand the ingredients.  Avoid products with antibacterial claims.  While the ban in hand soaps is a small step in the right direction, why has it taken so long and why not ban it in ALL PRODUCTS?!  


  • Hand Soaps - Kosmatology Moisturizing Hand Soap
  • Body Wash - Griffin Remedy Omega 3 Body Wash and Shower Gels
  • Toothpaste - Davids Natural Toothpaste, Jack n' Jill Toothpaste


    • Antibacterial Soap?  You Can Skip It: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm
    • The Big Baddies: The Choosy Chick http://thechoosychick.com/pages/the-big-baddies 
    • The EWG: http://www.ewg.org/research/ewgs-guide-triclosan
    • NIH: Recent Evidence Regarding Triclosan and Cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945593/
    Margot White
    Tagged: Soaps Triclosan