HL Deb 23 July 2001 vol 626 c177WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic properties of the anti-bacterial agent Triclosan; whether they are satisfied that all the safety criteria are met for chronic dosing, for example, when it is used as an ingredient in toothpaste; and whether these criteria are met where children are concerned. [HL215]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath)

The toxicological properties of Triclosan have been extensively investigated. An independent expert committee advised the European Commission in 1986 that Triclosan could be used safely in all types of cosmetic products at levels up to 0.3 per cent. It has low toxicity and does not give rise to concern with regard to mutagenic or carcinogenic properties, nor with regard to effects on the reproductive system or development of offspring.

Triclosan has been used as an anti-bacterial agent in cosmetic products for many years. The EU Cosmetic Directive, which is implemented in the United Kingdom by Department of Trade and Industry's Comestic Products (Safety) Regulations allows the use of up to 0.3 per cent Triclosan as a preservative in such products. It has also been widely used in household products, and in certain medicinal products such as medicated toothpastes, athlete's foot treatments and antiseptic creams and lotions which are licensed by the Medicines Control Agency.