FOCA joins call for antibacterial ban

June 2018 – watch this 1 minute video overview from Ottawa Riverkeeper, on the topic of triclosan and why it is an issue in Canada: 

February 27, 2018 – Letter from CELA, others to the Canadian government about weak action of triclosan.
“We are concerned that the government is missing a significant opportunity to address the impact of triclosan on human health, its contribution to antibiotic-resistance, and its toxic break-down products to the environment”

December 13, 2017 – Letter to FOCA from Products Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada

This is to inform you of the publication of the consultation document on a proposed Pollution Prevention (P2) Planning Notice for triclosan under Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan ( This document outlines the key elements of the proposed P2 Planning Notice and its publication will be followed by a 60-day public comment period ending on February 11, 2018.

The final assessment concluded that triclosan may be harmful to the environment and meets the criteria set out in section 64(a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Triclosan was not found to pose a health risk to Canadians at current levels of exposure. The Government of Canada published the Proposed Risk Management Approach for triclosan on November 26, 2016 for public comment. The approach outlined that the recommended risk management instrument was a P2 Planning Notice with the objective of reducing the quantity of triclosan released to the aquatic environment from its use in various products imported into or manufactured in Canada. This consultation document takes into consideration all comments received on the risk management approach.

The Government of Canada is considering issuing a notice requiring the preparation and implementation of Pollution Prevention Plans. The Notice would apply to companies that manufacture or import products that are cosmetics, natural health products, drugs, or cleaning products that contain more than 100 kg of triclosan (excluding manufacture for export and goods in transit). The proposed objective of the Notice is to reduce the total amount of triclosan from products that are imported into and formulated in Canada by 30% from 2011 levels. For companies that become subject after publication of the Final Notice, a reduction of 95% of the total mass of triclosan used or imported annually is proposed.

If you have comments on the consultation document, please provide them to the undersigned no later than February 11, 2018. Following the 60-day public comment period, comments will be considered and the risk management instrument will be revised as necessary. The proposed P2 Notice must be published in Canada Gazette, Part I, no later than November 2018.


Xin Gao, Director, Products Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St-Joseph Blvd.,9th floor Gatineau, QC, K1A 0H3  Fax: 819-938-4480 or 1-888-391-3695


Please type “Triclosan P2” in the subject line of your fax, letter or email message.

For more information on triclosan, we invite you to consult the following website:


February 21, 2017 – FOCA, and over 50 public interest and civil society organizations urge the government to prohibit triclosan in consumer products to protect the environment and human health (updated; PDF .5MB)

November 25, 2016 – Federal decision deems triclosan safe to use in consumer products (Globe and Mail)
According to an assessment report released today, triclosan should be declared a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – based on findings it is “highly toxic” to fish, algae, amphibians and other aquatic organisms.  Unlike the U.S. FDA, who noted that triclosan could pose risks to humans because it may increase the risk of bacterial resistance and disrupt hormones, the ruling by Environment and Climate Change Canada is that triclosan  is not a danger to human health or to the environment on which life depends.

The Canadian Federal government’s proposed new measures to reduce the release of triclosan into waterways from wastewater treatment plants are open to a public consultation period until  January 25, 2017. Stay tuned for more  details as they become available.

September 28, 2016 – Washing Out Antibacterial Soap The U.S. FDA is banning many of the ingredients found in antibacterial soaps, such as triclosan and triclocarbin, citing concerns over the safety and effectiveness of the chemicals for consumer use. The Agenda discusses the prevalence of these chemicals in consumer products, and whether Canada should follow the American lead. (Video)(TVO – The Agenda)

September 6, 2016 – FDA will ban antibacterial ingredients from soaps. What about Canada? (The Globe and Mail)

September 2, 2016 – U.S. FDA Bans 19 Chemicals Used In Antibacterial Soaps (NPR News)

July 27, 2015 – an urgent appeal has been sent directly to The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq,  Minister of the Environment, and The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health – seeking action on the harmful use of antibacterial chemical triclosan.


November 27, 2014 – FOCA, along with over 50 public interest and not-for-profit groups from Canada and the US are calling on the Government of Canada to take urgent action to prohibit the use of the chemical triclosan in consumer and institutional products. Triclosan is used in a wide range of products including antibacterial soaps and other products that are generally labelled as ‘antibacterial,’ ‘fights odours’ or ‘kills germs’.

Triclosan is now one of the top 10 contaminants of American rivers and a noted chemical of concern in the Great Lakes basin. Triclosan has been detected in drinking water, breast milk and household dust. Ninety- five percent of triclosan in consumer products goes down the drain and is highly toxic to aquatic organisms.

In March 2012, the Canadian government released its Preliminary Assessment Report for Triclosan. It proposed that triclosan should be declared ‘toxic’ under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act due to risk posed to wildlife living in rivers and lakes, particularly downstream from wastewater treatment plants. A growing body of research also shows that in addition to these risks posed by wastewater effluent, triclosan is also present in sewage sludge which, when applied to land, can enter into animal feed and crops destined for human consumption as well as contaminate terrestrial wildlife.

To date no action has been taken although the Canadian government states that a risk management plan will be produced in Spring 2015.

These product sales continue despite the fact that both the Public Health Agency of Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration have indicated that soaps with added antibacterial ingredients, such as triclosan, are no more effective than the mechanical action of washing with plain soap and water.

In May this year the State of Minnesota became the first state to pass a regulation banning the retail sale of any cleaning product for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing that contains triclosan after January 1, 2017.

FOCA and the other co-signers are calling on the Canadian government to:

  1. Officially declare triclosan to be toxic under CEPA, 1999;
  2. Implement a phase-out of triclosan in all consumer and institutional products, with priority given
  3. to cleaning and personal care products, with mandatory product labelling
  4. Adopt a framework of Informed Substitution and ensure that Triclocarban, a similar chemical, is prohibited so that industry does not adopt a regrettable substitution and require transparent alternatives assessments if chemical biocides are shown to be necessary in specific cases.

For a full copy of the signed NGO Statement calling for a ban on triclosan, click here.

Underwater image courtesy Andy Metelka

Terry ReesFOCA joins call for antibacterial ban