Glossary term


Triclosan is chemically called 5-Chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol, it is a compound with strong antimicrobial and antifungal effects. It is added to cosmetic and cleaning products or infused into consumer products. It can thus be found in soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, mouthwashes, on kitchen tools, toys, textiles, etc.

The concern about the use of this substance is the leakage into ecosystems. For example, in aquatic environments, low concentrations of dioxins can be produced when they react with water, but they can be very toxic and also act as endocrine disruptors. Triclosan is thought to contribute to increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics, due to a similar mode of action. Studies have described other negative health effects such as neurotoxicity or an impact on the immune system. The use of triclosan in soaps, for example, has been shown to be unnecessary; the antibacterial effects of soaps without triclosan are comparable.