Saying Goodbye to Triclosan in North America (and Beyond)

About a year ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its final rule on the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. Within it, the FDA outlined several ingredients that needed to be removed from over-the-counter antiseptic wash products in the U.S. One of the ingredients listed was triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent that was introduced to the healthcare market in the early 1970s.

Today, triclosan has made its way into consumer products, such as antibacterial soaps, deodorants, cosmetics and more. In fact, it is in nearly 75 percent of antibacterial soaps. Yet, studies have linked long-term exposure of the agent to certain health and environmental effects. The FDA ultimately decided that there was not sufficient evidence to disprove these risks, and the ban went into effect earlier this month.

As of September 2017, Diversey is no longer selling triclosan soaps in North America. Learn more about what this means for our products and our customers.

Diversey’s Progress

For decades, we have allowed customers to choose between hand care products with triclosan and without it. Many countries globally still approve of its use, as the antibacterial performance of the ingredient is well proven and well understood by governing bodies.

However, our customers have increasingly been asking questions about alternatives to triclosan, even in countries where the ingredient is not banned. Their challenge is that moving to alternatives often means a compromise in performance in their skin care products.

For several years our R&D and Marketing teams have been working on finding solutions that avoid these compromises. This focused innovation work has now enabled us to remove triclosan as an active ingredient from our hand care products while actually improving the antibacterial performance and gentleness to the skin. In many areas of the world, we have now replaced triclosan with active ingredients from natural sources. This pioneering work not only delivers on the challenging requirements for antibacterial performance, but helps reduce the load from biocidal ingredients in waste streams.

Seeing how these new, innovative solutions succeed in the field and literally in the hands of our customers, we announced in September 2016 our commitment to not only provide alternatives, but in fact remove triclosan entirely from our hand care products globally. This transition is not only giving our customers added assurance concerning the health and environmental profile of their most critical hand hygiene solutions, but also helping them make their hand hygiene programs more effective and suitable for all users.

A New Era

Moving away from selling triclosan soaps in North America is a significant milestone in our journey to lead the way out of triclosan globally. As you are reading this, the majority of our customers across the world are transitioning to triclosan-free solutions that deliver first class efficacy, mildness and sustainability profiles. A few remaining countries will have the agent removed in early 2018 due to the time required by some authorities to release our product registrations.

Our company has a long history of continuously reviewing and enhancing products in order to adapt to customer needs and changes in the marketplace. This capability to not only listen to and understand what our customers need, but actually using it to direct our innovation work is something we pride ourselves on.

Removing triclosan is the latest example of this work but will certainly not be the last. We are committed to partnering with customers of all sizes, helping them go beyond simply being compliant. Our expertise and global reach will continue to set the standards for effective and safer skin care solutions for our customers, communities and the planet. 

For more information about Diversey's hand hygiene solutions, visit https://diversey/hand-hygiene