American Cleaning Institute issues triclosan rebuttal

ACI issues statement refuting claims by UCSD study on tricolsan cancer links

According to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), summaries of a recent study on the antibacterial ingredient triclosan by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine 'grossly misrepresent what the research actually found'.

In the study, UCSD researchers discovered a link between triclosan and cancer in mice. The researchers say the substance could cause liver toxicity in humans.

Independent scientists at the UK-based Science Media Centre also took issue with some of conclusions of the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which claim that triclosan could negatively affect human health.

"The fact is that overdosing mice with triclosan at levels they would never likely come in contact with does not represent a realistic circumstance for humans," said Dr Paul DeLeo, ACI Associate Vice President of Environmental Safety. "We've known for decades that the mouse is not a good model for human risk assessment of triclosan."

Independent reviews from the Science Media Centre of the UCSD study refute claims that the paper proves that triclosan use promotes tumor growth in humans.

Dr Nick Plant, Reader in Molecular Toxicology at the University of Surrey, commented: "…the authors study only mice, and draw conclusion only on mice. Their comments on human health are very circumspect. As the authors state, it is difficult to assess if the dose that they use in mice is relevant to human exposure levels, but at a simple examination it appears to be much higher than I would expect to see in a human. This further complicates extrapolation to the human situation as we are not comparing equivalent exposures...it is not valid to state that the effect of triclosan in mice will occur in humans as well."

Dr Oliver A H Jones, Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at RMIT University Melbourne, added: "The results of this study are certainly interesting but I do not think they are a cause for concern for human health. The mice used in the study were primed with a tumor promoting chemical before being exposed to triclosan (which humans would not be) and the concentrations of triclosan used were much higher than those found in the environment."

DeLeo concluded: "Consumers need to know that antibacterial soap ingredients like triclosan have been extensively researched, reviewed and regulated for decades. Antibacterial soaps continue to play an important role in everyday hand washing routines in homes and hospitals alike."