Triclocarban (TCC) is an antimicrobial used to control bacterial and fungal growth. It's used in soaps, body washes, detergents, wipes, etc. The likely environmental sources are from human use in care products, where they are then washed down the drain and enter wastewater treatment plants. TCC could then leave the treatment plant in the effluent into surface water, or bound in sludge where it could be land applied. It has been detected in surface waters and sediment in Minnesota.
Environmental implications of TCC
- Very toxic and has the potential to elicit toxic effects to aquatic invertebrates at concentrations detected in surface water in Minnesota. It is likely to persist and accumulate in sediment, in addition to being found in surface waters.
- Bioaccumulative, so the threat for secondary poisoning to wildlife eating aquatic organisms should be considered.
- Not volatile or persistent in air, so long-range atmospheric transport of this contaminant is not a concern.
Toxic mode of action
TCC’s mode of action is not well understood, but is hypothesized to be similar to that of triclosan, which disrupts fatty-acid synthesis and affects the lipid bilayer.
Relevant media for monitoring
Water, sediment, biota
Are there seasonal considerations for monitoring?
No. TCC is widely used, and is likely to be found in wastewater consistently year-round.
Bacterial degradation resulted in 3,4-dichloroaniline, 4-chloroaniline (both of these are considered carcinogens) and 4-chlorocatechol.
Water should continue to be monitored, and future monitoring should include sediment because of the likely accumulation there, and the toxicity to organisms that dwell in the sediment. Biota is less of a priority, due to the low toxicity to terrestrial animals.
Detailed worksheet of aquatic toxicity for this chemical: