The safety of a chemical used to make antibacterial kitchenware is under review in the US.
The US Food and Drug Administration says that animal studies have raised questions over whether triclosan could damage health. The agency is therefore “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”.
Triclosan is commonly added to soaps, deodorants, toothpastes and some cosmetics to prevent bacterial contamination. It is also increasingly used in products such as kitchen utensils.
Triclosan can reportedly combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform gas, which is classified in the US as a probable human carcinogen.
There are also suggestions that antibacterial products kill healthy bacteria that fight germs, and that bacteria may become resistant to triclosan in a way that could also lead to resistance to antibiotics.
However, the FDA stresses that it does not yet have enough evidence to recommend any changes in connection with products containing triclosan.
“For some consumer products, there is clear evidence that triclosan provides a benefit,” it says. “For other consumer products, FDA has not received evidence that the triclosan provides an extra benefit to health. At this time, the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.”
The FDA will release the results of its research next spring.