"It seems strange to support or promote a product that targets specific bacteria but doesn't actually target the viruses that cause most of the illnesses in a household. To me, that doesn't make much sense."
Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969, according to a fact page maintained by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Since then, the chemical has been added to toothpastes, hand soaps, body washes, cutting boards, toys, carpets, mattresses, clothes, furniture and a wide variety of other products with the goal of fighting bacteria, fungi and mildew.
At first, triclosan was thought to act as a universal bacteria-killer but beginning in 1998, Stuart Levy and colleagues at Tufts University found that the chemical targets specific bacteria and that bacteria can become resistant to triclosan with a mutation in genes required to build cell walls.
A new class of antibiotics was structured like triclosan, Levy added, raising concerns that the chemical could be contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by favoring the survival and growth of microbes that were immune to the chemical.