(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2011) With flavors like “tangelo orange twist,” and “sugar lemon fizz,” popular body care chain, Bath and Body Works, has marketed an entire line of antibacterial body care products to teens and young adults. Unfortunately, these products contain the toxic hormone disruptor and water contaminant, triclosan, which could be hazardous to teenagers whose bodies are still developing. Join Beyond Pesticides, Center for Environmental Health, and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in asking Bath and Body Works to stop selling triclosan products that claim to “Spread Love, Not Germs.”
The Bath and Body Works antibacterial line, which includes products with names like “Tangelo Orange Twist” and “Sugar Lemon Fizz,” is marketed to teenagers using the slogan “spread love, not germs.” Although not listed on their website, this antibacterial line and others sold by the company contain triclosan as their main germ fighting ingredient. Beyond Pesticides in 2004 began voicing concern about the dangers of triclosan and in 2009 and 2010, submitted petitions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for the removal of triclosan from consumer products. Since then many major companies are quietly and quickly removing triclosan from their products. Colgate-Palmolive, makers of SoftSoap, and GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Aquafresh and Sensodyne toothpastes, have reformulated these products to exclude triclosan. Others, including Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, The Body Shop, and Staples, have started phasing it out of products.
“Given triclosan’s widespread environmental contamination and public health risk, companies must be held accountable for the safety of the substances they put into their products, especially when safer alternatives are available to manage bacteria,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.
Triclosan is not only an endocrine disruptor found at increasing concentrations in human urine and breast milk, but also contaminates waterways and possibly even the water we drink. To add insult to injury, triclosan is not even effective against harmful bacteria, including those found in hospitals.
Triclosan’s efficacy has been called into question numerous times, even though triclosan is marketed as a germ-killing substance. A systematic review of research assessing the risks and potential benefits associated with the use of soaps containing triclosan finds that data do not show the effectiveness of triclosan for reducing infectious disease symptoms or bacterial counts on the hands when used at the concentrations commonly found in antibacterial products. There is also evidence that the widespread use of antibacterial compounds, such as triclosan and triclosan-containing products, promote the emergence of bacterial resistant to antibiotic medications and antibacterial cleansers. The American Medical Association has stated, “No data exist to support their efficacy when used in such products or any need for them”¦it may be prudent to avoid the use of antimicrobial agents in consumer products.”
The scientific literature has extensively linked the uses of triclosan to many health and environmental hazards. As an endocrine disruptor, triclosan has been shown to affect male and female reproductive hormones and possibly fetal development, and also shown to alter thyroid function. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has found that triclosan is present in the urine of 75% of the U.S. population, with concentrations that have increased by 42% since 2004.
Over 10,000 individuals told EPA this spring, via email and docketed comments supporting Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch’s petition, 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.
Tell your family and friends to beware of products that contain triclosan.
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.