Triclosan in Personal Care Products Can Induce Antibiotic Resistance Interview with:

Dr Jianhua Guo PhD ARC Future Fellow, Senior Research Fellow Advanced Water Management Centre University of Queensland Brisbane Australia

Dr. Jianhua Guo

Dr Jianhua Guo PhD
ARC Future Fellow, Senior Research Fellow
Advanced Water Management Centre
University of Queensland
Brisbane Australia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It was found that wastewater from residential areas has similar or even higher levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes compared to hospitals, where you would expect greater antibiotic concentrations. Thus, we wonder whether non-antibiotic chemicals such as triclosan can directly induce antibiotic resistance, because triclosan could be ubiquitously detected in various water environments, like wastewater.

We found triclosan found in personal care products that we use daily could directly induce multi-drug resistance through mutation. The discovery should be a wake-up call to re-evaluate the potential impact of non-antibiotic chemicals on the dissemination of antibiotic resistance. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: I hold a very positive attitude for the US FDA policy to ban such a chemical in antibacterial soaps. I also expect our studies have provided evidence for policy makers in other countries to consider such a ban. For the perspective of environment protection or in order to avoid the emergence of antibiotic resistance caused by triclosan, I would like to suggest people look for triclosan-free personal-care products.

Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat for human beings, all of us need to fight against it together as a team. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Like antibiotics, if the misuse and overuse of triclosan is happening, the spread of antibiotic resistance might be more serious. Our study indicates there is a risk to get antibiotic resistance if we expose triclosan regularly. More rigorous risk assessment should be studiedby conducting animal experiments or mixed culture experiments.


Ji Lu, Min Jin, Son Hoang Nguyen, Likai Mao, Jie Li, Lachlan J.M. Coin, Zhiguo Yuan, Jianhua Guo. Non-antibiotic antimicrobial triclosan induces multiple antibiotic resistance through genetic mutation. Environment International, 2018; 118: 257 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.06.004

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