Triclosan is a chemical compound commonly found in consumer products to prevent and control bacterial contamination. It is often used in soaps, deodorants, shaving cream, toothpaste and mouthwash. It also can be found in clothing, bedding, socks, kitchenware, furniture and toys.
Because recent studies have suggested some harmful effects linked to triclosan — most notably that it contributes to the creation of resistant forms of bacteria — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in early 2010 that they would be collaborating on their own studies of triclosan.
For its part, the FDA has noted that triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But, the agency says it will be reviewing all evidence available to determine whether triclosan is safe for consumer products. The FDA expects to announce the results of its study in the spring of 2011.
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