A new study reported by researchers at the University of Minnesota
has found that triclosan, a antibacterial agent widely used in soaps and
similar personal care products, as well as in the manufacture of
textiles, leather, paper, plastic and rubber to stop the growth of
bacteria, fungus, mildew, and to prevent odours, is the dominant source
of several forms of dioxin in lakes which are receiving effluents from
sewage treatment plants.
The research indicates that the use of chlorine in wastewater
treatment plants where triclosan is present in the effluent leads to
formation of chlorinated triclosan compounds which then react
photochemically to form four types of dioxin. In lakes with no
wastewater input the researchers found no dioxins. Dioxins are a family
of chemicals many of which are highly toxic and carcinogenic.
Environment Canada announced last March that it will “initiate
consultations with industry on the potential for voluntary reductions in
the use of triclosan in products”.
The new research is available in the form of an abstract (free) or full article (subscription or fee required) at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es3045289?prevSearch=triclosan%2B2013&searchHistoryKey=
The Environment Canada position on triclosan is at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2012/2012-48-eng.php with a link on that page to a more detailed government Q&A.