ST. PAUL, Minn. – A chemical that was once widely used in products like liquid soaps and toothpaste will soon be banned in Minnesota. On January 1, 2017 the state ban on products made with triclosan takes effect.
Most large retailers have already stopped selling soaps and cleaners containing the chemical, however the Minnesota Department of Health says there may be smaller or discount retailers with older product lines that could still have some on the shelves.
“We want to make sure that they’re aware of the ban and that they are also in the process of removing triclosan from their store shelves,” says Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for MDH.
Schultz explains that research has shown that triclosan can have health impacts on the liver, blood, thyroid, and reproductive systems. From a public health standpoint, he says one of the major concerns is the possibility that the chemical could promote the spread of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
“That just makes the problem of finding effective antibiotics that will actually work on people that much more difficult.” He adds that the risks outweigh the benefits. “The commercially available hand soaps and body washes containing triclosan have not been proven to be more beneficial than washing with regular soap and water.”
But it’s not just human health that can be negatively impacted. A study from the University of Minnesota found that the chemical can break down into dioxins, which could be harmful to aquatic plants and wildlife.
The federal government is following Minnesota’s lead. This past year, the FDA announced they would institute a national ban on triclosan that will take effect in September of 2017.