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Public Health (30-03-2010)

Public consultation: preliminary opinion on the effect of triclosan on antibiotic resistance

Today, the independent Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) launches a public consultation on its preliminary opinion on the effect of the biocide triclosan on antibiotic resistance.

All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 26 May 2010.

Further details on the consultation can be found here.

Triclosan is a biocide used in many everyday products such as cosmetics, detergents, dish-washing liquids, soaps, lotions, etc. In the laboratory, it has been shown to trigger resistance and cross-resistance mechanisms in bacteria. This is a sign that it could be a contributing factor in the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Some reported environmental concentrations are high enough to suggest that they could trigger bacterial resistance in the environment. This warrants further investigation.

The Committee has identified a number of scientific and technical data gaps which need to be addressed. For example the prevalence of triclosan and its resistance profile. It also recommends that where biocides, including triclosan, are used intensely, monitoring for microbial resistance should be conducted.