(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2011) Following numerous developments on the antibacterial pesticide triclosan in consumer products over the last year, including several published studies highlighting the serious adverse effects of exposure, the submission of a federal petition calling for the ban of the chemical, and increased consumer awareness, experts are urging companies to take precautions and remove the ingredient from their products. Newest on the list of companies to remove triclosan is GlaxoSmithKline, which has removed the chemical from its Aquafresh and Sensodyne toothpastes, as well as its Corsodyl mouthwash. Recently Colgate-Palmolive, makers of Colgate Total and Softsoap antibacterial hand soaps, has removed triclosan from most of its products, excluding its Total brand toothpaste, a line that the company claims fights gingivitis. However, as Elizabeth Salter Green, director of ChemTrust, a UK-based health and environmental organization, says in Cosmetics Design: â€śIf one eats the right foods and maintains correct dental hygiene, then triclosan, or other antibacterial agents are not needed.â€ť
Antibacterial Soap: Public Health Survey
In response to a recent survey on antibacterial soap by the chemical industry, Beyond Pesticides has released its own survey questions about the health and environmental issues surrounding antibacterial cleansers and asks that you share the link (http://triclosan.questionpro.com) with your friends and family. The industry survey, supported by the Personal Care Products Council in partnership with the American Cleaning Institute, reported that 56 percent of American consumers use antibacterial soap on a regular basis and 83 percent would like to retain the choice to purchase them. This is no surprise given that consumers do not know all the facts â€“health and environmental impactsâ€“ surrounding the use of antibacterial products and antibacterial agents like triclosan; facts that this industry poll failed to mention.
The truth is antibacterial products available to consumers like antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers do not provide any added health benefits over regular soap. Antibacterial agents like triclosan, found in many antibacterial products, are linked to a host of adverse health and environmental effects including hormone disruption, possible impaired fetal development, and water and food contamination. This chemical is currently under scrutiny at the FDA and is the focus of petitions submitted to both FDA and EPA calling for its ban. If consumers knew all the facts, would they think differently about purchasing antibacterial products? We think they would.
We are looking for individuals to complete this short, multiple choice survey. Please share the survey (http://triclosan.questionpro.com) with your family and friends, as well as any relevant blogs or email lists. It is important to educate the public and see an accurate picture of consumer knowledge and preference.
Extension Announced for Ban Triclosan Petition
In a letter submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dated January 22, 2011, Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch requested a 60 day extension to the comment period. EPA announced that it is extending the comment period â€“ originally set to end on February 7, 2011 – to April 8, 2011.
The petition, filed on January 14, 2010, identifies pervasive and widespread use of triclosan and a failure of EPA to: (i) address the impacts posed by triclosanâ€™s degradation products on human health and the environment, (ii) conduct separate assessment for triclosan residues in contaminated drinking water and food, and (iii) evaluate concerns related to antibacterial resistance and endocrine disruption. The petition cites violations of numerous environmental statutes, including laws on pesticide registration, the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. It also documents that triclosan is no more effective than regular soap and water in removing germs and therefore creates an unnecessary hazardous exposure for people and the environment.
You can also help get the word out by asking your network to let EPA know that triclosan must be banned to protect the public, workers and the environment. See Beyond Pesticide’s triclosan page for more information.
â€˘ Click here to send an email directly to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The link (sponsored by Organic Consumers Association) sends an automated message to Lisa Jackson, or;
â€˘ Submit your own comments to the docket directly by clicking here. Fill in the form to submit your comments to the Federal Register (this method offers different levels of privacy). For a more impactful statement, use your own language.
Want to do more? You can also join the ban triclosan campaign and sign the pledge to stop using triclosan today. Avoid products containing triclosan, and encourage your local schools, government agencies, and local businesses to use their buying power to go triclosan-free. Urge your municipality, institution or company to adopt the model resolution which commits to not procuring or using products containing triclosan.