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Biological Hazards

Risk assessment on the use of triclosan in cosmetics – development of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria

Report no: 2007: 11

Ordered: 04.12.2006

Published: 02.03.2007

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Main message:

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) of the European Commission presented a Draft Opinion on triclosan (SCCP/1040/06) on October 10th 2006. This report was made after a request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, who wanted a new evaluation of the safety of triclosan after The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) drafted their report ”Risk assessment on the use of triclosan in cosmetics” (2005).

In their report, SCCP refers to scientific publications claiming it has not been clearly demonstrated that the use of biocides like triclosan can lead to an increased antibiotics resistance, even though the link is probable.

One of the main conclusions in the SCCP Draft Opinion is that there is no evidence of clinical resistance and cross-resistance in clinically important bacteria caused by the use of triclosan in cosmetic products.

Based on this, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority asked The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety, Panel on Biological Hazards to reconsider their conclusion in view of the SCCP draft opinion and recently published scientific literature. In particular, the focus should be on issues of resistance development.

After having assessed the SCCP Draft Opinion on triclosan and new scientific information, the VKM panel on biological hazards concluded that none of this information necessitates reassessment of their conclusions of January 31st 2005.

Furthermore it was concluded that triclosan use might lead to development of antimicrobial resistance (co- and/or cross–resistance) in clinically important bacteria. 

The panel on biological hazards was responsible for the risk assessment. 

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The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety

T: +47 21 62 28 00
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The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no

 

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