Recent studies have raised concerns about the safety of triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in many soaps and hand sanitizers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, triclosan is so common in household products that traces of it are found in the urine of 75% of the population. These new studies show that the chemical may disrupt the human endocrine system and help to create bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
In response to a letter from Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the FDA (along with the EPA) indicated that they would be taking a closer look at the chemical. Markey responded:
"The proliferation of triclosan in everyday consumer products is so enormous, it is literally in almost every type of product -- most soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, clothes and toys," Markey said. "It's in our drinking water, it's in our rivers and as a result, it's in our bodies. . . . I don't think a lot of additional data has to be collected in order to make the simple decisions about children's toys and soaps that people use. It clearly is something that creates a danger."
Other countries have banned or restricted usage of triclosan, including members of the European Union. However, the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products industry, which utilizes triclosan in its products, is claiming concerns over the safety of the chemical are unfounded.
The FDA says it is taking a “fresh look” at the chemical, and working quickly "to understand better the health effects" of it, in hopes of developing new regulations.