Everyday Products That Contain Triclosan, Ingredient Causing Antibiotic Resistance

Triclosan shows up in an alarming number of household products. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Triclosan is one of those chemicals that was found in pretty much everything. You could see it in your soaps, first aid kits, cosmetic products, and even in your kid’s toys. The problem with this chemical is that it is extremely toxic and has been shown to cause cancer in mice.

In 1998, Hasbro was fined by the EPA for false advertising when it made false claims about the product. Their toys were covered in Triclosan and were promoted to parents by saying that the toys would make their kids healthier.

In September of 2017, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of triclosan along with 18 other chemicals. Their reasoning behind it was because Triclosan was proven to not be safe for daily use.

Triclosan is also remarkably resilient and doesn’t break down in water easily. The chemical poses a genuine threat to the bacteria in the ocean that make up the bottom of the food chain.

Triclosan finds itself in the strangest of places

organized office

It’s likely found in your office too. | iStock

At this point, you just have to think of this product like asbestos. It was used in almost every product out there and it took a long time for us to find out that it was bad for you. Triclosan can be found in clothes, office and school products, and humidifiers. For a larger list of products, head to this site here.

Since they are in products not meant for consumption, they don’t need to be listed. Companies will often market these items as antimicrobial, but there is very little evidence to support that.

Kaiser Permanente has decided to use any products that contain triclosan citing that there isn’t any evidence it actually helps. What’s worse is that studies into its effectiveness say that it is contributing to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bugs.

Some consumer products that are covered under the purview of the FDA have to list what they contain. That gives you, the consumer, at least the opportunity to know what you are using. Hopefully, the list below will help you spot some of those products on store shelves.

Here’s a list of products that may contain triclosan

Soap dispensers, Cotton swabs and other toiletries

Unfortunately, triclosan is used in common household goods. | iStock.com/Okea

Disclaimer: This list is not comprehensive. Some of these products are or were formulated with triclosan. Companies have been quietly removing triclosan amidst public pressure and did so without notice. It is best to read the ingredients on the product to see if it still contains the chemical.

1. Soaps

Many soaps that have the “anti-bacterial” markings on them are known to have triclosan. Other keywords to look for are “sanitizing” or “purifying.” Products like Clearasil, Dial, and Ajax all used triclosan in their soaps, face washes, and body washes.

2. Dental care

Surprisingly, we only found two products that used triclosan. They were Colgate Total Breeze Mouthwash and Reach Antibacterial Toothpaste. You can see how that term “antibacterial” has cropped up again. Just always be wary of it.

3. Cosmetics

Triclosan is pretty prevalent in a lot of different cosmetic products. Unlike the previous two kinds of products, there isn’t really a keyword you should be aware of unless it’s lotion. Lotions that contain(ed) this chemical usually have “antibacterial” listed in the label or titles like Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Moisturizing Lotions.

Other cosmetics include Paul Mitchell’s Detangler Comb, Revlon ColorStay LipSHINE Lipcolor Plus Gloss, and Babor Volume Mascara.

4. Deodorants

Deodorants would benefit from a chemical like triclosan. The thing that makes them work is destroying odor-producing bacteria. So it makes sense that you would find them in products like Arm and Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant or DeCleor Deodorant Stick.

5. First Aid kits

First aid kits are especially dependent on antibacterial chemicals. Triclosan was used in a lot of products that go in first aid kits. Products like Solarcaine First Aid Medicated Spray relied on the antibacterial properties to ensure a sterile wound treatment.

6. Kitchenware

Here’s another group of products that have a distinct set of wording. “Microban” was used in a lot of products for the kitchen like Farberware Cutting Boards, Hobart Semi-Automatic Slicer, and Chix Food Service Wipes with Microban.

Microban is another antibacterial product that contains triclosan that is used in a lot of consumer products not meant for consumption.

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