Although the company says that scientific evidence “supports the safe use of triclosan,” Avon has instead made the decision after bowing consumer pressure to drop the chemical from its consumer products. The chemical is a suspected endocrine disruptor, according to The Guardian.
Avon is no longer using triclosan in new product development and has begun replacing it in existing products. Relative to Avon’s complete product portfolio, only a small number of products are impacted by these actions, the company says.
In August 2012, Johnson & Johnson announced plans to remove a number of potentially harmful chemicals, including triclosan, from its line of adult consumer products by the end of 2015. The company already pledged last November to remove specific chemicals from its baby products, such as Johnson baby shampoo, by 2013. Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive have also made similar moves away from the chemical, The Guardian reports.
However, many of the companies ridding their products of triclosan are replacing it with quaternary ammonia compounds, which have been found to contribute to respiratory distress. Studies have found that “quats,” of which the most common is benzalkonium chloride, can exacerbate asthma in the asthmatic and increase the chances of nonasthmatics contracting the respiratory problem, the paper reports.
A year after getting rid of certain chemicals in their products, Johnson & Johnson began phasing out the use of polyethylene microbeads in beauty products, and developing an environmentally friendly alternative, after activists from environmental group the 5 Gyres Institute found large quantities of the beads in the Great Lakes.