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Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2016;56:251-72. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010715-103417.

Triclosan: A Widespread Environmental Toxicant with Many Biological Effects.

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Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093; email: ,


Triclosan (TCS) is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that has been added to personal care products, including hand soaps and cosmetics, and impregnated in numerous different materials ranging from athletic clothing to food packaging. The constant disposal of TCS into the sewage system is creating a major environmental and public health hazard. Owing to its chemical properties of bioaccumulation and resistance to degradation, TCS is widely detected in various environmental compartments in concentrations ranging from nanograms to micrograms per liter. Epidemiology studies indicate that significant levels of TCS are detected in body fluids in all human age groups. We document here the emerging evidence--from in vitro and in vivo animal studies and environmental toxicology studies--demonstrating that TCS exerts adverse effects on different biological systems through various modes of action. Considering the fact that humans are simultaneously exposed to TCS and many TCS-like chemicals, we speculate that TCS-induced adverse effects may be relevant to human health.


antibacterial; antimicrobial resistance; bioaccumulation; environmental hazard; hormone homeostasis; liver pathogenesis; precautionary principle

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