Research on Key Antibacterial Ingredient Distorts Real-World Use

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 14, 2012– Media reports and analysis of a new research paper are distorting the real world safety and everyday use of the antibacterial ingredient triclosan based on faulty comparisons to overdosed test subjects, according to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI).

ACI expressed disappointment in the researchers’ publicity campaign – calling for unnecessary restrictions on the oft-tested ingredient – that cross the line into straight advocacy based on questionable conclusions in their paper (published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

“Antibacterial products containing the germ-killing ingredient triclosan remain safe and effective for everyday use,” said Richard Sedlak, ACI Executive Vice President, Technical & International Affairs.

“Triclosan is one of the most thoroughly studied and researched ingredients over the past 40 years. Extensive regulatory and scientific reviews of triclosan by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other regulatory bodies around the world, have found the uses of triclosan to be safe.”

For example, a 2011 review by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety found that the “use of triclosan at a maximum concentration of 0.3% in toothpastes, hand soaps, body soaps/shower gels and deodorant sticks  is considered safe.”

A 2012 preliminary screening assessment of triclosan by Health Canada and Environment Canada also reiterated that triclosan-containing products are safe for consumers to use.

“In this current study, essentially the authors sampled the test subjects (mice and fish) at levels that the test subjects would never be subjected to in the real world, let alone human beings,” said Sedlak.

“Antibacterial soaps are used as a part of common sense hygiene routines in homes, hospitals, doctors’ offices, day care centers, nursing homes, and countless other office and institutional settings.

“These products and ingredients have stood the test of time through extensive research and testing. It’s unfortunate that attempts are made to distort real world use of products and ingredients that contribute to better health.”

More information on the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial products and ingredients can be found online at www.fightgermsnow.com and www.cleaninginstitute.org/antibacterials.


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