Learn about triclosan and if it’s safe.

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About triclosan

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:

  • lotions
  • 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.

You can find information on recalls and safety alerts. You can also report an unsafe product by contacting a regional product safety office.

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