American Cleaning Institute Statement: Canadian Government Review of Triclosan

  • Antibacterial Ingredient Remains a Safe, Effective Contributor to Public Health
  • Triclosan Has Been Thoroughly Reviewed and Regulated, Is Safe and Provides Key Germ Killing Benefits
  • Ingredient Does Not Pose a Risk to the Environment
  • Canadian Officials Reaffirm Safe Use by Consumers
  • Canadian Review is Ongoing; Industry Will Showcase Updated Science on Environmental Safety
  • Safety, Benefits Info Available at www.fightgermsnow.com

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 30, 2012– In light of a Canadian government review of a key antibacterial ingredient, the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI, formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) reminded consumers that triclosan has a decades-long track record of safe and effective use in personal care and hand hygiene products.

After a preliminary screening assessment of triclosan by Health Canada and Environment Canada, officials there reiterated that triclosan-containing products are safe for consumers to use.

“Antibacterial soaps and washes play a beneficial role in the daily hygiene routines of millions of people throughout the U.S. and worldwide,” said Richard Sedlak, ACI Senior Vice President, Technical & International Affairs. “They have been and are used safely and effectively in homes, hospitals, and workplaces every single day.

“Furthermore, a number of governmental bodies in the U.S. and around the world have determined the safe uses of triclosan and the products containing it; product manufacturers must abide by those safety rules.”

Refuting misleading statements and distortions made by proponents of restrictions on triclosan beyond those set by governments, ACI said that science-based research and data show triclosan is safe for use in regulated hygiene products, does not cause significant risks or harm to human health and the environment, and does not contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Environmental Safety

As ACI stated in 2011 comments to the Environmental Protection Agency, “triclosan does not pose a risk to aquatic or terrestrial environments, nor does it pose a threat of accumulation in drinking water or food.”

“Additionally, based on extensive studies relevant to understanding the potential for triclosan to cause endocrine disruption in humans and aquatic animals, triclosan is not a cause of endocrine related effects at environmentally relevant concentrations.”

Product Benefits

ACI reiterated that triclosan-containing antibacterial handwash products provide a benefit compared to non-antibacterial hand wash products.

“Antibacterial hand washes provide a public health benefit by reducing or eliminating pathogenic bacteria on the skin to a significantly greater degree than plain soap and water,” said Sedlak. “The bacterial reduction from hand washing is linked to reduced infection from pathogenic bacteria.”

Canadian Review is Preliminary Assessment

“ACI will thoroughly review the Canadian government’s draft safety assessment of triclosan, which is a preliminary assessment, not a final decision. We will share updated science and research that affirms the environmental safety of triclosan,” added Sedlak.

Information on the safety and benefits of antibacterial products are available on ACI’s website at www.cleaninginstitute.org/antibacterials and at www.fightgermsnow.com.


The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) 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, 202-662-2517 (office)/ 202-680-9327 (mobile), bsansoni@cleaninginstitute.org