Triclosan: Applications and safety

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      Triclosan (2,4,4′-trichloro-2′-hydroxydiphenyl ether) is a nonionic, broad spectrum, antimicrobial agent that, because of its favorable safety profile, has been incorporated into a variety of many personal care products, including deodorant soaps, underarm deodorants, shower gels, and health care personnel handwashes. Triclosan exhibits a moderate degree of substantivity to the skin, and, in many products, it imparts a remnant antimicrobial effect. Although direct contact with the material under exaggerated exposure conditions causes dermal irritation in laboratory animals, it has only rarely been associated with skin irritation or sensitization in human beings in formulated products. Acute, subacute/subchronic, and chronic toxicity profiles have been established to determine that triclosan is neither an acute oral toxicant nor that it acts as a carcinogen, mutagen, or teratogen. A new application for triclosan is in oral dentifrices for plaque control. Currently under investigation in the United States, it is approved for oral care application in Canada and many European countries.
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