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Crit Rev Toxicol. 2010 May;40(5):422-84. doi: 10.3109/10408441003667514.

Triclosan: a critical review of the experimental data and development of margins of safety for consumer products.

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ENVIRON International Corporation, Arlington, Virginia, USA.


Triclosan (2,4,4'-trichloro-2'-hydroxy-diphenyl ether) is an antibacterial compound that has been used in consumer products for about 40 years. The tolerability and safety of triclosan has been evaluated in human volunteers with little indication of toxicity or sensitization. Although information in humans from chronic usage of personal care products is not available, triclosan has been extensively studied in laboratory animals. When evaluated in chronic oncogenicity studies in mice, rats, and hamsters, treatment-related tumors were found only in the liver of male and female mice. Application of the Human Relevance Framework suggested that these tumors arose by way of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) activation, a mode of action not considered to be relevant to humans. Consequently, a Benchmark Dose (BMDL(10)) of 47 mg/kg/day was developed based on kidney toxicity in the hamster. Estimates of the amount of intake from in the use of representative personal care products for men, women, and children were derived in two ways: (1) using known or assumed triclosan levels in various consumer products and assumed usage patterns (product-based estimates); and (2) using upper bound measured urinary triclosan levels from human volunteers (biomonitoring-based estimates) using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the product-based estimates, the margin of safety (MOS) for the combined exposure estimates of intake from the use of all triclosan-containing products considered were approximately 1000, 730, and 630 for men, women, and children, respectively. The MOS calculated from the biomonitoring-based estimated intakes were 5200, 6700, and 11,750 for men, women, and children, respectively. Based on these results, exposure to triclosan in consumer products is not expected to cause adverse health effects in children or adults who use these products as intended.

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