The Trouble with triclosan. Risk Governance: A new policy approach.

Elín Ásgeirsdóttir & Laureen Cuvilier

Studenteropgave: Speciale


Concern has been growing as to whether or not the biocide triclosan leads to antibiotic resistance despite risk assessments stating that the chemical is safe to use. The development of new technologies generates new hazards to which consumers are involuntarily exposed. The risks arising from the use of these substances are unknown, unexplored and misunderstood, but their use continues. Consumer exposure to hazardous substances in personal care products and their effects on human health are not new problems, yet current so-called solutions are not always effective; a precautionary approach must be implemented to ensure that health is safeguarded, safety promoted, the priority of environmental protection is observed, and past mistakes not repeated. We argue that current risk analysis is not sufficiently effective to handle the concerns and well being of citizens and the environment. One approach offering reason for optimism striving to increase transparency and accountability, creating public awareness and policy coherence is risk governance. The fundamental goals of risk governance require a shift in citizens’ understanding and mentality with respect to the most effective types of government. Governments have a responsibility and duty to maintain health and well-being and should aim for absolute safety and well-established trust. This thesis looks at risk governance and the presence of the biocide triclosan in products used on a daily basis, and the role of the government in communicating these risks to the public. Whether or not triclosan leads to the development of resistant bacteria, it is possible that exposure to such harmful chemicals might lead to drug resistance, inadvertently affecting the health of human populations and the environment. The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate how to strengthen consumer protection against hazardous chemicals in household products.

UddannelserTekSam - miljøplanlægning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2006


  • antibiotic resistance
  • risk communication
  • triclosan
  • risk governance
  • consumer awareness