Triclocarban: Another Toxic Ingredient to Avoid

Published on October 7th, 2014 | by

Triclocarban: Another Toxic Ingredient to Avoid

As if cancer-causing ingredients weren’t enough, a new report looked at antibacterial soap and revealed yet another cosmetics ingredient that’s a threat to our health: triclocarban.

Does triclocarban sound familiar? That’s because it’s related to a more well-known toxic ingredient: triclosan. Jennifer Kaplan reported on new research into triclosan and triclocarban over at our sister site, Eat Drink Better. The study pointed to both triclocarban and triclosan as serious threats to human health.

Triclosan gets all of the glory when it comes to antibiotic resistance, damage to muscle function, and an array of other health concerns. Triclocarban deserves its moment in the spotlight. Let’s look at this toxic ingredient and where it might be hiding in your medicine cabinet.

Triclocarban: What is it, and where does it hide?

Triclocarban is an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent that’s used in cosmetics to boost germ-killing power and prolong shelf life by preventing bacteria from flourishing. Sounds pretty good, right?

The trouble with triclocarban is basically the same as with triclosan. Because it’s in so many products, bacteria become resistant to it. It may also be linked to reproductive health problems, according to the study that Kaplan covered at Eat Drink Better.

But that’s not the only place where triclocarban is hurting our health. Producing the stuff is bad news. Creating triclocarban also creates close to 140 carcinogenic byproducts. And guess where those end up? In the same place that most of the triclocarban (and triclosan!) from our personal care products does: our water. That’s bad for aquatic life and for our drinking water supply.

So, where should we look for triclocarban? Pretty much in the same products that might contain triclocarban:

+ soaps

+ lotions

+ hand sanitizer

+ toothpaste

As with all of the toxic ingredients we cover here at Feelgood Style, your best defense is careful label-reading. You can also use the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep app to check cosmetics on the fly, right in the beauty aisle.

If label-reading and research aren’t your speed, you can choose organic beauty products, which are free of toxic ingredients like triclocarban. Or, try making your own DIY beauty supplies like this DIY hand sanitizer.

Shopping photo via Shutterstock


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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .