Triclosan is an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent that can slow or stop the growth of germs such as bacteria and mildew. For more than 40 years, triclosan has been used safely as a preservative in many commercial and institutional cleaning and personal hygiene products to help prevent bacterial contamination of the product.
For example, in toothpaste, triclosan can help combat the bacteria that cause gingivitis. It is also found in over-the-counter consumer antiseptic products such as hand wipes, rubs or gels.
Triclosan has been used in consumer products for decades and extensively reviewed and permitted for use by regulatory agencies around the world. In September 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new rule stating that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products (antibacterial soaps) containing specific ingredients, including triclosan, can no longer be marketed. The rule applies only to consumer antiseptic wash products/soaps that are intended for use as either a hand or body wash, and does not affect consumer hand sanitizers or wipes, or antiseptic products used in healthcare and food handling settings.