Reproductive endocrine-disrupting effects of triclosan: Population exposure, present evidence and potential mechanisms

Environ Pollut. 2015 Nov;206:195-201. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.07.001. Epub 2015 Jul 13.


Triclosan has been used as a broad-spectrum antibacterial agent for over 40 years worldwide. Increasing reports indicate frequent detection and broad exposure to triclosan in the natural environment and the human body. Current laboratory studies in various species provide strong evidence for its disrupting effects on the endocrine system, especially reproductive hormones. Multiple modes of action have been suggested, including disrupting hormone metabolism, displacing hormones from hormone receptors and disrupting steroidogenic enzyme activity. Although epidemiological studies on its effects in humans are mostly negative but conflicting, which is typical of much of the early evidence on the toxicity of EDCs, overall, the evidence suggests that triclosan is an EDC. This article reviews human exposure to triclosan, describes the current evidence regarding its reproductive endocrine-disrupting effects, and discusses potential mechanisms to provide insights for further study on its endocrine-disrupting effects in humans.

Keywords: Exposure; Hormone receptor; Reproductive endocrine-disruption; Steroidogenesis; Triclosan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Endocrine System / drug effects
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Triclosan / toxicity*


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Hormones
  • Triclosan