Triclosan in the composition of medical products

Not so long ago on our site there were published several articles devoted to the most sensational categories of substances, which are often included in cosmetics and medicines, as well as in medical devices and raise disputes among consumers, manufacturers, environmentalists and other communities. (Read more about this in the articles about parabens and silicons).

Triclozan is also the subject of disputes of scientists about safety. Triclosan (5-chloro-2- (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol) is a synthetic organic compound with antibacterial and antifungal properties. This compound was first synthesized in Switzerland in 1965 and used as a pesticide for a long time. Currently, triclosan is used in detergents and cleaning products, as well as in soap, toothpaste and deodorants. According to researches, about 70% of the population of the USA in one way or another encountered this compound in the composition of cosmetic and hygienic products.

In addition, triclosan has found its application in medical devices. In particular, triclosan is included in some suture materials. For example, on the Russian market it is possible to find at least 6 names of nonabsorbable sutures with antimicrobial coating, which include triclosan.

Also triclosan is used in disinfectants for hospitals and polyclinics.

Interestingly, the US FDA still does not have unambiguous information regarding the harm of triclosan. On the official website you can find information about ongoing studies on the influence of high doses of triclosan on lowering of thyroid hormones, as well as on the contribution of triclosan in the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. In this regard, since 2017, the use of triclosan in antiseptics for hands and soap was prohibited.

However, in 1997 the results of studies on the effectiveness of toothpaste Colgate Total were collected. It was shown that triclosan in the composition of toothpaste effectively prevents the development of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).

In addition, the use of triclosan in suture materials also has advantages over uncoated materials. According to scientific literature, sutures with antibacterial coating reduce the incidence of infections in the post-operative wound area.

In Russia, triclosan is allowed to use in a concentration of up to 0.3% in the finished product belonging to the category of perfumery and cosmetic products.

However, over time, regulation may change, as a group of Russian scientists from the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics (ITEB) RAS found that triclosan, being lipophilic compound, destroys mitochondria, which leads to cell death.

Thus, there are many studies on the harm of triclosan. It may be worthwhile to prohibit its use in products with high levels of consumption and constant contact with the human body, but given its effectiveness in some applications, to ban triclosan completely makes no sense.


  1. Konstantin N. Belosludtsev, Natalia V. Belosludtseva, Kirill S. Tenkov, Nikita V. Penkov, Alexey V. Agafonov, Lyubov L. Pavlik, Valery A. Yashin, Victor N. Samartsev, Mikhail V. Dubinin, Study of the mechanism of permeabilization of lecithin liposomes and rat liver mitochondria by the antimicrobial drug triclosan, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes, Volume 1860, Issue 2, 2018, Pages 264-271, ISSN 0005-2736,
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