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Triclosan is a potent wide spectrum antibacterial and antifungal agent. It is a polychloro phenoxy phenol.
Chemical structure and properties
This organic compound is a white powdered solid with a slight aromatic/phenolic odor. It is a chlorinated aromatic compound which hasfunctional groups representative of both ethers and phenols. Phenols often show anti-bacterial properties. Triclosan is only slightly soluble in water, but soluble in ethanol, diethyl ether, and stronger basic solutions such as 1 M sodium hydroxide. Triclosan can be synthesized from 2,4-dichlorophenol.
Triclosan is found in soaps (0.10-1.00%), deodorants, toothpastes, shaving creams, mouth washes, and cleaning supplies, and is infused in an increasing number of consumer products, such as kitchen utensils, toys, bedding, socks, and trash bags. Triclosan has been shown to be effective in reducing and controlling bacterial contamination on the hands and on treated products. More recently, showering or bathing with 2% triclosan has become a recommended regimen for the decolonization of patients whose skin is carrying methicillin resistantStaphylococcus aureus (MRSA) following the successful control of MRSA outbreaks in several clinical settings.
Triclosan is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the European Union. Duringwastewater treatment, a portion of triclosan is degraded, while the remaining adsorbs to sewage sludge or exits the plant in wastewater effluent. In the environment, triclosan may be degraded by microorganisms or react with sunlight, forming other compounds, which may include chlorophenols and dioxin, or it may adsorb to particles that settle out of the water column and form sediment. Triclosan was found in Greifensee sediment that was over 30 years old, suggesting that triclosan is degraded or removed slowly in sediment.
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