ACI: Analysis of Research on Antibacterial Ingredient “Distorts and Misrepresents” Safe Use of Triclosan


  • Publicity Statement Claiming that Ingredient Can Affect Human Health Not Borne Out By What the Research Actually Shows
  • Independent Scientists Also Refute Researchers’ Claims
  • Credible, Scientific Information on Triclosan Safety Available at fightgermsnow.com

Washington, DC, | November 19, 2014 Summaries of a study on the antibacterial ingredient triclosan grossly misrepresent what the research actually found, according to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI – www.cleaninginstitute.org).

Independent scientists at the UK-based Science Media Centre also took issue with some of conclusions of the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which claim that triclosan could negatively affect human health.

“The fact is that overdosing mice with triclosan at levels they would never likely come in contact with does not represent a realistic circumstance for humans,” said Dr. Paul DeLeo, ACI Associate Vice President, Environmental Safety. “We’ve known for decades that the mouse is not a good model for human risk assessment of triclosan.”

Independent reviews of the research from the Science Media Centre state very clearly that:

“The paper does not prove the claim that TCS [triclosan] use promotes tumor growth in humans.”

Additional comments from the Centre (excerpted below):

From Dr Nick Plant, Reader in Molecular Toxicology at the University of Surrey:

“…the authors study only mice, and draw conclusion only on mice. Their comments on human health are very circumspect. As the authors state, it is difficult to assess if the dose that they use in mice is relevant to human exposure levels, but at a simple examination it appears to be much higher than I would expect to see in a human. This further complicates extrapolation to the human situation as we are not comparing equivalent exposures.

… it is not valid to state that the effect of triclosan in mice will occur in humans as well.”

 From Dr Oliver A.H. Jones, Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at RMIT University Melbourne:

“The results of this study are certainly interesting but I do not think they are a cause for concern for human health. Firstly the mice used in the study were primed with a tumor promoting chemical before being exposed to triclosan (which humans would not be) and the concentrations of triclosan used were much higher than those found in the environment.”

ACI expressed disappointment with a press statement from the University of San Diego Health System (where one of the researchers is based) that was “sophomorically” headlined: The Dirty Side of Soap.

“Consumers and the research community at-large are ill-served by over-the-top and distorted headlines and hype that accompany this research,” said ACI’s Paul DeLeo.

“Consumers need to know that antibacterial soap ingredients like triclosan have been extensively researched, reviewed and regulated for decades. Antibacterial soaps continue to play an important role in everyday handwashing routines in homes and hospitals alike.”

In comments submitted earlier this year to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the safety of triclosan, ACI wrote:

“Triclosan-containing consumer antiseptic wash products play a beneficial role in the daily hygiene routines of millions of people throughout the U.S. and worldwide. They have been and are used safely and effectively in homes, hospitals, schools and workplaces every single day.

“Furthermore, triclosan and products containing it are regulated by a number of governmental bodies around the world and have a long track record of human and environmental safety which is supported by a multitude of science-based, transparent risk analyses.”

For a historical perspective showcasing research that demonstrates triclosan’s safe and effective use in antibacterial soaps, visit www.fightgermsnow.com.



The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.

Contact: Brian Sansoni, American Cleaning Institute, 202.662.2517 or bsansoni@cleaninginstitute.org