Triclocarban is an antimicrobial active ingredient used globally in a wide range of personal cleansing products including deodorant soaps, deodorants, detergents, cleansing lotions, and wipes. Triclocarban is also used globally as an antimicrobial active ingredient in bar soaps.
Triclocarban is used in consumer antimicrobial products designed to reduce the number of harmful bacteria on the skin better than the use of plain soap. The use of Triclocarban helps to stop the transmission of germs to other people or to objects.
The most widespread use of Triclocarban is in antimicrobial bar soaps. It is also commonly used as an active ingredient in deodorant products such as sprays, roll-ons and sticks, shampoos and shaving creams and in some over-the-counter preparations like antiseptic foaming solution for topical application on the skin. Additionally, Triclocarban is used in cleansing preparations in hospitals where a high risk exists for the transmission of infection.
Triclocarban is a limited spectrum antibacterial agent, meaning that it is not effective against all microbes. There is a specific set of organisms for which Triclocarban effectively prevents or controls growth. It is insoluble in water, but is fat-soluble. It disables the activity of the enzyme called ENR (enoyl-acyl carrier-protein reductase) which humans do not have, making it harmless to humans. This enzyme is vital to building cell membranes of many bacteria and fungi.
Triclocarban containing cosmetic and personal care products in which the substance has been used as an antimicrobial active ingredient, primarily in bar soaps, have been in the market for more than 35 years and thus have a long history of safe use in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the U.S. Extensive safety data exist, and are publically available online at such locations as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These data demonstrate that Triclocarban is of low acute and chronic toxicity and has an acceptable human safety profile for use in personal cleansing products. A human health risk assessment on the basis of the worst-case assumption of aggregate exposure demonstrates that the use of such products is safe. Moreover, no significant adverse effects have been reported through extensive post-market product surveillance.
Extensive data exist on human health and environmental safety for Triclocarban. The data have been submitted to government agencies including EPA under the HPV Program and are publicly available. A review by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) concluded that available data are sufficient to fulfill requirements of the HPV program and that no new studies are needed.
Cleaning for Health (The Soap and Detergent Association):
Q & A on Antibacterial Products. The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) and The Soap and Detergent Association: http://www.Germsmart.com
TCC Consortium. High Production Volume (HPV) Chemical Challenge Program Data Availability and Screening Level Assessment for Triclocarban, CAS#: 101-20-2; Report 201-14186A; 2002.
European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) opinion on triclocarban for other uses than as a preservative (2005):
Safety documents on Triclocarban (FDA website):
Directive 76/768/EEC, Annex VI, part 1 n° 23.
Gledhill, W.E. (1975). Biodegradation of 3,4,4’-trichlocarbanilide, TCC, in sewage and activated sludge, Water Res. 9, 649-654.
Halden, R.U.; Paull, D.H. (2005). Co-occurrence of triclocarban and triclosan in U.S. water resources. Environ. Sci. Technol. 39(6), 1420-1426.
Latch, D.E., Packer, J.L.., Stender, B.L., VanOverbeke, J., Arnold, W.A., McNeill, K. (2005). Aqueous photochemistry of triclosan: Formation of 2,4,-dichlorphenol, 2,8-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, and oligomerization products. Environ. Toxico. Chem. 24(3), 517–525.