Learn about triclosan and if it’s safe.
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Triclosan is a chemical found in a wide range of household products. It:
- acts as a preservative
- helps to prevent odours
- can kill or remove bacteria
- stops the growth of bacteria, fungus and mildew
Examples of products that may contain triclosan include:
- hand sanitizers
- eye and face makeup
- natural health products
- fragrances and deodorants
- toothpaste and mouthwash
- soaps, skin cleansers, and shampoos
Safety of triclosan
We assessed the potential health and environmental risks of triclosan through a chemical risk assessment. From the assessment, we found that:
- triclosan is not a health risk at current levels of exposure
- there’s no evidence that products with triclosan cause antimicrobial resistance
- triclosan poses a risk to the environment
Triclosan is found in the environment when products like toothpaste and soap are washed down the drain. The amount of triclosan that’s released can pose a risk to living things in the water like plants and fish.
Ongoing protective measures
Canada regulates cosmetics, non-prescription drugs and natural health products. The maximum amount of triclosan allowed is:
- 0.03% in mouthwashes
- 1.0% in non-prescription drugs
- 0.3% in cosmetics and natural health products
Minimize your exposure to triclosan
You can take action to minimize your exposure and protect the environment by:
- reading and following the product instructions
- Follow any safety warnings and directions on product labels and dispose of products responsibly.
- practising correct hand washing techniques using regular soap and water
- In most cases, antibacterial or antimicrobial soap is not necessary for safe, effective hand hygiene.
- reading labels to avoid buying products with triclosan
- The label on cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs and natural health products must indicate if they contain triclosan.
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