May 20, 2014 -- A germ-killing ingredient that's widely used in products such as soaps, toothpaste and deodorants is being banned in Minnesota due to health and environmental concerns.
A bill to prohibit the use of triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products was signed Friday by Gov. Mark Dayton and is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2017. Minnesota is the first state to take such action, the Associated Press reported.
Studies in lab animals have suggested that triclosan may disrupt hormones that play an important role in reproduction and development, while other research indicates that triclosan may contribute to the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
An estimated 75 percent of anti-bacterial soaps and body washes sold in the United States contain triclosan, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency and other experts say there's no evidence that soaps with triclosan are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing the spread of diseases, the AP reported.
Other states and the federal government are likely to take action against triclosan, said state Sen. John Marty, one of the lead sponsors of the Minnesota bill. He added that many companies are likely to voluntarily remove triclosan from their products.
Extensive research has shown that triclosan provides important health benefits, according to the American Cleaning Institute, which urged Gov. Dayton to veto the bill, the AP reported.