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New research on a chemical found in everyday consumer products ranging from soaps to toothpaste to toys raises "valid concerns" about its possible health effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The American position, outlined in correspondence to a congressman working to ban triclosan in personal care products, toys and clothes, comes as Health Canada continues its own evaluation of "emerging scientific data" to determine whether to take steps to minimize exposure for consumers.

The majority of liquid antibacterial soaps contain triclosan as an active ingredient to stop the growth of bacteria and to deodorize. It is also contained in toothpaste, facewash, deodorants and cosmetics. More recently, triclosan is also being added as a bacteria-killer to countertops, kitchenware, toys and clothes.

The FDA told Massachusetts congressman Edward Markey the agency shares his "concern" over the potential effects of triclosan in disrupting the body's endocrine system, so the agency is taking another look at the chemical.

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