On the need and speed of regulating triclosan and triclocarban in the United States

Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Apr 1;48(7):3603-11. doi: 10.1021/es500495p. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


The polychlorinated aromatic antimicrobials triclosan and triclocarban are in widespread use for killing microorganisms indiscriminately, rapidly, and by nonspecific action. While their utility in healthcare settings is undisputed, benefits to users of antimicrobial personal care products are few to none. Yet, these latter, high-volume uses have caused widespread contamination of the environment, wildlife, and human populations. This feature article presents a timeline of scientific evidence and regulatory actions in the U.S. concerning persistent polychlorinated biocides, showing a potential path forward to judicious and sustainable uses of synthetic antimicrobials, including the design of greener and safer next-generation alternatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / analysis
  • Carbanilides / analysis*
  • Carbanilides / toxicity
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / drug effects
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Social Control, Formal*
  • Triclosan / analysis*
  • Triclosan / toxicity
  • United States


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Carbanilides
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Triclosan
  • triclocarban