Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

FAQ: Triclosan and Your Health

FDA Reviewing Antibacterial Chemical Widely Used in Soaps and Body Washes

Q: Why do critics want triclosan banned from consumer products?

"We want it removed because it is ineffective and poses a potential threat to human health and the environment," Sarah Janssen, MD, PhD, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, tells WebMD.

In animal studies, triclosan has been found to interfere with hormones crucial for normal brain development and function and reproductive system development and function, Janssen says.

That interference could be serious, she says, leading to altered behavior, learning disabilities, and infertility.

The development of antibiotic resistance with continuous use of the products with triclosan is another concern, she says.

''The other big concern is, because of its widespread use in consumer products, we now have widespread contamination of the U.S. population with this chemical," Janssen says. ''Three-quarters of Americans are carrying traces of it in the blood."

She is referring to a study, published in 2007, in which researchers from the CDC found that three-quarters of more than 2,500 urine samples from U.S. children and adults had various concentrations of triclosan.

Q: What is the industry view of triclosan as an ingredient?

''We have seen absolutely no clear evidence that use of triclosan or any other antibacterial ingredient is leading to hormone problems in human beings," Sansoni says. "It's a great leap," he says, to go from animal study results to human study results.

Products with triclosan, he says, ''are widely available and are continually used safely and effectively by millions of people in hospitals, offices, homes, and day care settings."

''We think it's important for consumers to continue to have access," Sansoni says.

Q: Should you avoid products with triclosan?

For now, according to the FDA, there is not enough evidence to recommend avoiding the products. The FDA expects to release the findings of its review of the ingredient's safety in spring of 2011.

Q: If you want to avoid products with triclosan, how can you best do it?

Simply by reading the label. Triclosan will be listed in the ''drug facts'' label.

Sansoni says products with the ingredient are also likely to include other information elsewhere on the label, pointing out the antibacterial action.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
itchy skin
shingles rash on skin
woman with skin tag
Woman washing face
woman washing her hair in sink
close up of womans bare neck
woman with face cream