Cleaning and Personal Care Products

Uses Cleaning products (soaps, surface disinfectants, detergents, algaecides, trash bags), shampoos, body washes and lotions, shaving creams, deodorants, facial cleansers, sunscreens, hand sanitizers, toothpastes, toothbrushes, mouthwashes, cosmetics, over-the-counter medical products (skin antiseptics, throat lozenges, eye drops, ear drops, nasal sprays, spermicidal creams, burn and ulcer treatments, cold-sore and blister treatments)
Resources US FDA Final Rule on Antimicrobial Washes – This FDA ruling bans 19 antimicrobials (including triclosan, triclocarban, and other halogenated aromatics as well as methylbenzethonium chloride) from consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes. The FDA provides the reasoning that these chemicals pose health risks and are no more effective than plain soap and water in preventing the spread of germs.

Viruses, Bacteria, and Mold – This resource by the Pesticide Research Institute provides guidance on safer cleaning methods that avoid halogenated aromatics, quats, nanosilver, and other harmful antimicrobials.

Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database – You can search the database by ingredient to find a list of personal care products currently containing that ingredient. You can also search by product to see the list of ingredients in that product.

Clothing and Linens

Uses Athletic apparel, outdoor apparel, sleepwear, underwear, socks, shoes, medical apparel, bedding, towels
Resources Antibacterial Treatment of Clothes – Does it Really Have an Effect? – This report by the Swedish Chemical Agency illustrates that antimicrobials added to clothing fabric (including triclosan, triclocarban, and silver) wash away quickly, rendering them ineffective. Because antimicrobial treatment of fabric also poses health and environmental risks, the Agency recommends that textile manufacturers phase out the use of antimicrobials.

Building Materials and Furnishings

Uses Wall finishes (primers, paint, enamel, grout, sealants, treatments, preservatives), flooring (ceramic floor tiles, vinyl tiles, vinyl composition tiles, wood flooring, bamboo flooring, composite wood, vinyl carpet backing, waterborne finishes), surfaces (toilet seats, kitchen counters, door knobs), ceilings (acoustical ceiling components, ceiling panels), coatings (tiles, carpets, paints), adhesives (polyurethane adhesives), thermal insulation (foam insulation, cellulose insulation), roofing membranes, furniture textiles, curtains and blinds
Resources Antimicrobials in Hospital Furnishings – This white paper by the organization Health Care Without Harm outlines the lack of evidence to support the use of antimicrobials included in a growing number of furnishing products in hospital settings. It provides recommendations for health care institutions and manufacturers.

Antimicrobial Chemicals in Buildings – Hygiene or Harm? – An overview by BuildingGreen on the usage of antimicrobial chemicals used in building products.