Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in many soap products, deodorants, toothpaste and even some toys.
Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill last Friday making Minnesota the first state to ban the use of triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products. However, the ban won’t be put into effect until January of 2017.
“While this is an effort to ban triclosan from one of the 50 states, I think it will have a greater impact than that,” State Senator John Marty said. He also noted that several companies are seeing that there isn’t really an advantage of keeping triclosan in its products.
Triclosan can be found in about 75% of anti-bacterial liquid soaps and body washes found in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration. While it hasn’t been shown to necessarily be hazardous to people, studies have shown that it may disrupt hormones critical for reproduction and development. A University of Minnesota study from 2013 found increasing levels of triclosan in the sediments of several lakes, and that the chemical can break down in those waters into potentially harmful dioxins.
“Instead of letting federal regulators do their jobs, the legislation would take safe, effective and beneficial products off the shelves of Minnesota grocery, convenience and drug stores,” Douglas Troutman, the trade group’s vice president wrote in a letter to Dayton.
Some major manufacturers have announced plans to work triclosan out of their products over the next couple of years. Proctor & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste is now marketing itself as triclosan-free, and plans to have it out of all of their products by 2015.