Prelims 2021

Q. ‘Triclosan’, considered harmful when exposed to high levels for a long time, is most likely present in which of the following?

a) Food preservatives
b) Fruit-ripening substances
c) Reused plastic containers
d) Toiletries

Correct Answer: d) Toiletries

Question from UPSC Prelims 2021 GS Paper

Explanation : 


Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent that has been widely used in a variety of consumer products, including toiletries such as toothpaste, soaps, deodorants, and hand sanitizers. Its primary function in these products is to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination, thereby reducing the risk of infection and maintaining product integrity.

The Safety Concerns of Triclosan

Concerns about triclosan arise from studies that have shown it can disrupt hormones in animals and might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Due to these concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a rule in 2016 that banned the use of triclosan (and several other antibacterial ingredients) in over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products, like liquid soap, foam soap, gel hand soap, bar soap, and body wash because manufacturers did not prove that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.

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