Minnesota bans triclosan; cites health and environmental risks

Photo by Lucille Pine; Flickr
Photo by Lucille Pine; Flickr

Minnesota has recently become the first state in the nation to ban triclosan, a chemical compound with antibacterial properties that is used in a wide range of products. The ban will be implemented in 2017 in order to give producers time to phase out the compound.

The ban is in response to several studies suggesting that triclosan may have harmful effects on human health. It has been linked to increased occurrence of allergies, endocrine disruption, and impaired muscle contraction.

Although small doses of triclosan should have little to no effect on an individual, consumers are exposed to the compound frequently through common products such as hand sanitizer, soap, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Those with particular genetic variations may also be at higher risk.

Additionally, the cumulative quantities of triclosan that are washed down the drain may have negative environmental consequences. It is toxic to certain species of algae and bacteria, and recent research suggests that it may hinder sewage treatment processes.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently consider triclosan to be hazardous, but is currently investigating the compound in light of new research.


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