The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing the safety of the chemical known as triclosan, which was created more than 40 years ago as a surgical scrub for hospitals. Triclosan is present in a range of products, including antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps, kitchen cutting boards and toothpaste. According to New York Times reporting, the chemical is so prevalent that a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the chemical present in the urine of 75 percent of Americans over the age of 5.

The article reports:

Several studies have shown that triclosan may alter hormone regulation in laboratory animals or cause antibiotic resistance, and some consumer groups and members of Congress want it banned in antiseptic products like hand soap. The F.D.A. has already said that soap with triclosan is no more effective than washing with ordinary soap and water, a finding that manufacturers dispute.

Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the American Cleaning Institute, said the evidence against triclosan was hardly convincing and that the chemical had been used safely in consumer products and in hospitals for decades. He said there was no evidence that triclosan caused antibiotic resistance.

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