FDA Provides Information to Consumers About Triclosan

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently updated its Web site with information about triclosan, a common ingredient added to many consumer products to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It may be found in antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics--products regulated by the FDA.

In January, Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, sent a letter to the FDA requesting information about the status of FDA's ongoing review of triclosan in consumer products.

In responding to Markey's letter, FDA explained that, in light of animal studies raising questions about triclosan's safety, the agency is engaged in an ongoing scientific review to incorporate the most up-to-date data and information into the regulations that govern consumer products containing triclosan and does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.

For some consumer products, there is clear evidence that triclosan provides a benefit. For other consumer products, FDA has not received evidence that the triclosan provides an extra benefit to health. At this time, the agency said does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.

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