Federal health regulators conduct review on potentially harmful chemical in hand soap

(WXYZ) - A chemical that's been in U.S. households for more than 40 years is now just being reviewed for its health safety.

Federal health regulators are deciding if Triclosan -- a germ-killing ingredient found in an about 75% of anti-bacterial liquid soaps and body washes -- is harmful.

Recent studies of Triclosan in animals have led scientists to worry that it could increase the risk of infertility, early puberty and other hormone-related problems in humans.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to deliver a review this year of whether the chemical is safe.

The decision could have serious implications on a $ billion industry that includes hundreds of antibacterial products. The review will also determine whether Triclosan continues to be used in household cleaners.

A University of Michigan professor says the risks appear to outweigh any benefit, but the industry insists Triclosan is safe and effective.

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