Triclosan, one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in
products, is the focus of a campaign undertaken by a coalition of health
and environmental groups led by Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water
Watch, aimed at removing triclosan from the market. Over the last few years, as a direct result of pressure from consumer
groups and the media regarding the need for triclosan in consumer
products and the mounting scientific evidence documenting adverse health
effects, including impacts to the thyroid hormone, major manufacturers
have quietly reformulated their products without triclosan.
Studies have increasingly
linked triclosan (and its chemical cousin triclocarban), to a range of
adverse health and environmental effects from skin irritation, endocrine disruption, bacterial and compounded antibiotic
resistance, to the contamination of water and its negative impact on fragile
When introduced to
the market in 1972, triclosan was confined to hospital and health care
settings. Since then triclosan exploded onto the market place in hundreds
of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes,
cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products.
Triclosan’s success on the consumer market has been aided by the
false public perception that antibacterial products are best to protect
and safeguard against potential harmful bacteria. However, an article
in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, entitled "Consumer
Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky?" (2007), concludes
that antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps. In 2010, FDA stated that, “Existing data raise valid concerns about the [health]
effects of repetitive daily human exposure to [triclosan]” and announced plans to address the use of triclosan in
cosmetics or other products.
It is time once again to tell EPA to remove this dangerous chemical from the market. In March 2013, EPA opened the federal docket for triclosan, offically beginning the registration review of triclosan. Under
pressure after its 2008 review, EPA announced that it would again review
triclosan in 2013, five years earlier than scheduled. Over the last few
years, as a direct result of pressure from consumer groups and the
media regarding the need for triclosan in consumer products and the
mounting scientific evidence documenting adverse health effects,
including impacts to the thyroid hormone, major manufacturers have begun
to quietly reformulate their products without triclosan.
Johnson & Johnson to Phase Out Triclosan. Health care and cosmetics giant Johnson and Johnson has announced that it will soon begin phasing out a number of potentially dangerous chemicals from its personal care brands, including triclosan. The company cites consumer concern over the safety of triclosan as among its reasons for the alteration in its products, hinting that it was uncomfortable with growing body of science linking triclosan to a number of health concerns. The phase out is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015.
Canada Declares Triclsoan Toxic to the Environment. The Canadian government declared triclosan toxic to the environment, a move which would see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply in Canada. The draft risk assessment found triclosan to be toxic to the environment but did not find enough evidence to say it is hazardous to human health. A toxic designation under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act triggers a process to find ways to curtail a chemical’s use, including a possible ban in a range of personal-care products.
Video: Triclosan 101. Allison Aiello, PhD discusses the antibacterial ingredient triclosan,
its efficacy, and potential health impacts as part of the Pesticides and
Health Panel at "Healthy Communities: Green solutions for safe
environments," Beyond Pesticides' 30th National Pesticide Forum, March
30-31, 2012, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
From PRI: Triclosan Safety Questioned. Public Radio International's Living on Earth (download the show) recently interviewed Beyond Pesticides about the toxic antibacterial agent triclosan, which is found in many consumer products like toothpaste, countertops and children’s toys. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was also interviewed.
Overwhelming support for the petition to ban Triclosan.
Over 10,000 individuals told EPA, via email and docketed comments, to
ban the dangerous antibacterial triclosan. Additionally, scores of public
health and advocacy groups, local state departments of health and the
environment, as well as municipal and national wastewater treatment
agencies submitted comments requesting an end to triclosan in consumer
products. EPA published the petition for public comment in December
2010 and closed the comment period on April 8, 2011. Beyond Pesticides
once again urged the agency to ban the uses of triclosan in consumer
products citing risks to human and environmental health.
Act by April 8, 2011. Let EPA know that it's time to ban triclosan.
EPA has extended the comment period for another 60 days to April 8,
2011.Your voice is critical in generating public comments on a petition,
published in the Federal Register, to ban the antibacterial chemical
triclosan. As you may know, this chemial, now found in the bodies of
75% of the US population, is linked to endocrine disruption, bacterial
and antibiotic resistance, dioxin contamination, and contaminated fish
EPA announced a 60-day public comment period for the petition
filed by Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch to ban the controversial
antimicrobial pesticide triclosan for non-medical use. The petition,
filed on January 14, 2010, identifies pervasive and widespread use of
triclosan and the agency's failure to address triclosan's impacts on
human and environmental health, conduct assessments for residues in
drinking water and food and concerns related to antibacterial resistance
and endocrine disruption. The petition cites various violations of numerous
environmental statues including the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking
Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Comments are accepted until April 8, 2011 at www.regulations.gov.
Direct comments to docket number: EPA–HQ–OPP–2010–0548.
When commenting, please specify the statute to which your comments refer
(FIFRA, FFDCA, SDWA, CWA, or ESA) and the specific issue(s) raised in
the petition regarding that statute on which you are commenting. (December,
Urges FDA to Ban Triclosan. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise
M. Slaughter and two colleagues asked
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban triclosan due to
the hazards that this chemical poses, including antibiotic resistance
and potentially leading to higher health care costs, citing both Beyond
Pesticides and Food and Water Watch's petition currently pending before
the agency (November 2010).
released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) finds that levels of triclosan in humans have increased by 50%
since 2004 (August 2010).
FDA says, "existing
data raise valid concerns" regarding exposure to triclosan. FDA
is considering action in light of a petition
submitted by Beyond Pesticides, and others, and in response to a letter
from Rep. Markey (April 2010).
Food & Water Watch and more than 80 organizations petitioned
EPA to ban triclosan for non-medical applications on the basis that
uses violate federal laws regulating pesticides, clean and safe drinking
water, and endangered species (January 2010).
Looking for a product
free of triclosan? Find one from a
list of companies that have signed the pledge to be triclosan-free.
Take Action! Learn how you can help end the unnecessary use of this
toxic antibacterial chemical. Stay in the loop on triclosan and
other issues by joining us on Facebook.