Minnesota Triclosan Ban: Law Prohibits Antibacterial Agent In Soap Products Due To Effect On Thyroid, Hormones

On Jan. 1, 2017, a Minnesota triclosan ban takes effect. The state will become the first in the country to prohibit the sale and production of the ubiquitous antibacterial agent for use in soaps and other similar products germ-killing products.

According to KSTP, officials in Minnesota passed a controversial law that requires manufacturers to phase out their current inventory of germ-fighting agents at the beginning of the year. Major producers of triclosan-free products have already begun reducing their current inventory levels in stores.

Minnesota state senator John Marty is an author of the Minnesota ban. He shared some insight into the upcoming law.

“I wanted it to change the national situation with triclosan and it certainly has contributed to that.”

Triclosan is well-known additive in some deodorants, toothpaste, and antibacterial soaps. Critics of antiseptic agents point to studies that suggest triclosan disrupts the normal function of the thyroid and hormonal processes in humans.

According to University of Minnesota research project, triclosan can degrade and possibly leach into public water supplies, riverbeds, tributaries, and lakes. Friends of the Mississippi River, a local watchdog group, which includes the author of the study, banned with Minnesota’s governor two years ago to put pressure on the industry for a total ban by January 1, 2017.

Just in September, the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA), instituted its ban on triclosan along with 18 other antibacterial products around the country. Officials say the ban was put in place because producers did not have the requisite documentation to prove that triclosan and similar substances were safe for human use, according to CBS Local.

Still, the FDA allows triclosan in limited products such as Colgate Toothpaste. Supposedly, research suggests the product is scientifically effective in preventing and treating gingivitis, the gum disease.

Proponents of triclosan say that it is safe for use by humans As a result of the triclosan ban, manufacturers are submitting documentation to the FDA for three alternatives: it’s benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol.

Some consumers are reporting seeing triclosan-based products in stores. Brian Sansoni works with the American Cleaning Institute he said the triclosan products still on store shelves are likely sell-through.

“Consumers can continue to use these products with confidence like they always have.”

The FDA is still conducting research into the full impact on humans but has banned the substance out of an abundance of caution. On its website, it explains the potential for triclosan to impair health.

“Some short-term animal studies have shown that exposure to high doses of triclosan is associated with a decrease in the levels of some thyroid hormones. But we don’t know the significance of those findings to human health. Other studies have raised the possibility that exposure to triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. At this time, we don’t have enough information available to assess the level of risk that triclosan poses for the development of antibiotic resistance.”

There are several studies that have caused regulators to worry about the safety of triclosan. One study underway is looking at even more potential harmful effects such as the relationship with some forms of skin cancer and triclosan use over a long period of time.

Another study is probing into the possibility that the antibacterial agent is susceptible to breaking down after exposure to ultraviolet light. The fear is a risk that the substance can change chemically and become a health hazard.

Stay tuned for developments in the Minnesota triclosan ban.

[Featured Image by Marina Lohrbach/Shutterstock]