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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Triclosan' Category


09
Apr

Avon Joins Other Companies in Phasing Out Triclosan from Products

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2014)   Cosmetics giant Avon will join several other notable cosmetics and personal care companies in committing to remove the antibacterial pesticide triclosan from their products. This announcement comes months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will require manufacturers of antibacterial soaps and other consumer goods to prove that their products are both safe for long-term use and more effective than regular bar soap. Avon is just the latest company to demonstrate the notable market shift away from triclosan which has been occurring quietly over the past few years due to consumer awareness and government stagnation. Avon’s action marks a trend in which companies using toxic chemicals are forced by consumers to switch to nontoxic ingredients and  get out in front of regulators whose actions lags behind the science on adverse health and environmental effects. Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive began reformulating to remove triclosan from their products for a couple years now. Avon joined these companies last week, announcing  it will begin phasing the chemical out of “the few” products in its line that include it.   Avon cites customer concern as its reason for reformulating. On its […]

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17
Dec

Beyond Pesticides’ Decade-Long Campaign Leads FDA to Bar Antibacterial Soaps

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2013) A new rule proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps, body washes, and other consumer goods to prove that their products are both safe for long-term use and more effective than regular bar soap in order to remain on the market. This announcement, though long-delayed, represents a positive step towards reining in the unnecessary use of antibacterial chemicals at a time when top-level government scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have asserted that we’ve reached “the end of antibiotics.”  With the publication of its article The Ubiquitous Triclosan: A common antibacterial agent exposed  in 2004, Beyond Pesticides began a campaign to ban triclosan because of it cross resistance with antibiotics, endocrine disrupting effects, and lack of benefits. “Numerous studies have shown that antibacterial soaps cause more harm than any of their perceived benefits,” said Nichelle Harriott, staff scientist  at Beyond Pesticides. “For the protection of human health and the environment, we urge the FDA to move quickly to get these products off of the market.” FDA’s new rule, announced Monday, will be open for public comment for 180 days and manufacturers will […]

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16
Dec

FDA Moves to Limit Some Antibiotic Uses in Livestock

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2013) A new rule published by the Food and Drug (FDA) will limit the ability for food producers to give livestock antibiotics for subtherapeutic purposes. These new regulations come after decades of pressure from environmental and public health groups to limit the nontherapeutic use of these drugs in animal production. Though these regulations are an important step in the right directions, some are critical that loopholes still exist which could make these new rules less effective than they need to be. FDA’s new rules on antibiotics ask drug manufactures to change the label of antibiotic drugs so that farmers will no longer be able to use them to promote the growth of livestock. Currently subtherapeutic doses of penicillin and tetracycline are typically added directly into animal feed and water. The new rule also requires that licensed veterinarians supervise the use of antibiotics, meaning farmers and ranchers would have to obtain prescriptions to use the drugs for their animals. Currently, farmers can go to feed stores and buy antibiotics over the counter with no regulatory oversight. These new FDA rules are an important step forward to better regulate the use of antibiotics, however loopholes within the rules […]

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13
Dec

Unregulated Contaminants Found Widespread in U.S. Drinking Water

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2013) A recent survey conducted by researchers at the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found traces of 18 unregulated chemicals in drinking water from more than one third of U.S. water utilities. Of the 21 total chemicals found, researchers discovered among them 11 perfluorinated chemicals, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial chemical, a metal and an antidepressant. Preliminary findings were presented by scientists at an annual toxicology conference held by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry last month in Nashville. Federal researchers took samples from 25 U.S. utilities from around the nation who voluntarily participated in the study, providing samples of treated and untreated water. Disturbingly, 18 of the chemicals found are not regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act, meaning utility companies are not required to treat, limit, or even monitor for their presence. “The good news is the concentrations are generally pretty low,” said USGS research hydrologist Dana Kolpin, PhD. to Environmental Health News. “But,” he continued “there’s still the unknown. Are there long-term consequences of low-level exposure to these chemicals?” While there is a paucity of data on some of the contaminants, regulated chemicals such […]

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14
Nov

Court Suspends Nanosilver Pesticide Use in Clothing, Cites EPA’s Improper Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2013) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on November 7 said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had improperly approved the use of nanosilver by one U.S. textile manufacturer. The decision came in response to Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) lawsuit against EPA to limit the use of nanosilver out of a concern for public health. The court agreed with a key point NRDC raised –EPA did not follow its own rules for determining whether the pesticide’s use in products is safe. The court vacated the approval and sent it back to the agency for reevaluation. “The court’s ruling puts us a step closer toward removing nanosilver from textiles,” said Mae Wu, an attorney in NRDC’s Health Program. “EPA shouldn’t have approved nanosilver in the first place. This is just one of a long line of decisions by the agency treating people and our environment as guinea pigs and laboratories for these untested pesticides.” Beginning in December 2011, EPA issued a registration to HeiQ Materials for   nanosilver used in fabrics and required the company to provide data on toxicity for human health and aquatic organisms within four years. In early 2012, […]

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15
Oct

Ongoing Shutdown Creates Problems for Organic Community

(Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2013) The ongoing government shutdown is having dramatic impacts on the organic agricultural community. On October 10, it was announced that the semiannual National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting, scheduled in Louisville the week of October 21, has been canceled. During the NOSB’s semiannual meetings the board makes recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture regarding materials on the National List of Allowed or Prohibited Substances in organic operations after considering input from the public. The meeting was to come on the heels of a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that the agency had changed the process for exempting synthetic materials. The shutdown has also affected the Farm Bill process that organic advocates are hoping will, in the least, restore organic programs from the 2008 Farm Bill. The shutdown has also raised several food safety questions about whether government can handle a recent salmonella outbreak. The semiannual NOSB meeting, previously scheduled for the week of October 21, in Louisville, Kentucky, has been canceled.   An e-mail distributed October 1 by Miles McEvoy for the National Organic Program, stated the meeting would be canceled if a Congress did not reach an agreement on the budget by […]

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23
Sep

Send Your Comment to USDA: Stop Antibiotics in Organic Fruit Production, Allow Full Public Participation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2013) Don’t let USDA stop your voice from being heard on organic. The meaningfulness of the USDA organic label is threatened because the standards and public oversight governing organic are under attack. Say No to Antibiotics in Organic Fruit Production Help us make sure that the last antibiotic, streptomycin, is taken out of organic apple and pear production. Public action in spring 2013 resulted in a decision by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to support the phase out of tetracycline. With resistance to antibiotics rampant, organic should be helping to solve the problem. Ask for Organic Policy on Fish Farming before Approving Allowed Materials On fish farming or aquaculture, we don’t want intensive operations that pollute the environment and are not defined by organic systems that are protective of the aquatic environment. Let’s not let the NOSB approve synthetic chemicals that are used in factory fish farms without clear organic standards. Go to Beyond Pesticides Keeping Organic Strong webpage to learn more about these issues and provide a unique public comment. Protecting the Public’s Voice in Organic USDA has weakened the power of the NOSB and the voice of the public on the review and […]

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10
Sep

Proctor and Gamble to Eliminate Triclosan from Its Products by 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2013) With mounting pressure from consumers and public advocacy organizations, multinational manufacturer Procter and Gamble (P&G) announced that it will eliminate the harmful antibacterial chemical triclosan from its products by 2014. P&G’s notice is the latest in a growing trend across the county, as both governments and private companies continue to move away from the use this dangerous and unnecessary substance.  In August 2012, the health care and cosmetics corporation Johnson and Johnson announced its own phase out of triclosan. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced in March of this year that all state-run agencies would stop purchasing products that contain triclosan. Colgate Palmolive announced in 2011 that it would reformulate many of its products to take out triclosan, but note that its mainstay Colgate Total brand toothpaste still contains the chemical. Triclosan is currently used in a wide variety of products, including hand soaps, clothing, kitchenware, deodorants, and cosmetics. P&G’s website does not list the specific products from which it  will be removing triclosan, instead explaining that the only remaining uses of triclosan are in the company’s antibacterial dish soap, professional hand soap, and some other personal care products (P&G is the maker of brands such […]

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09
Sep

Take Action! Organic Comment Period Now Open Until October 1

(Beyond Pesticides, September 9, 2013) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is now accepting public comments until October 1, 2013 for its upcoming fall meeting, to be held October 22-24, 2013 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY  (140 North Fourth St., Louisville, KY, 40202). Beyond Pesticides has compiled a list of the issues before the Board, which can be viewed on the Keeping Organic Strong website. We strongly encourage all those concerned about the future of organic food to review the issues and submit a public comment to the NOSB. The 15 member Board meets twice a year to review substances petitioned for allowance on the “National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances” in organic production and processing. Beyond Pesticides’ Keeping Organic Strong website provides a number of resources for people to participate in the organic review process alongside the Board. Note that throughout the week, we will be updating the page with sample comments, Beyond Pesticides’ full comments to the Board, and comments from key stakeholders in the organic community. Written comments on the proposals can be submitted until 11:59 pm on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at regulations.gov. You can also attend the NOSB meeting in person […]

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27
Aug

Study Reveals Toxic Nanoparticles Persist in Food

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2013) A new study by scientists at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources is shedding light on the persistence of nanopesticides in our food. Researchers focused their attention on silver nanoparticles (nanosilver), a substance that has been linked to environmental harm, bacterial resistance, and not fully understood impacts on human health. Scientists say their findings represent a reliable method of testing foods for the harmful particles and hope to more broadly implement their technique in the future. The last decade has witnessed a large influx in the use of nanotechnology in consumer products, including food, clothing, cosmetics, fertilizers, and pesticides. The growth of this technology has elicited strong reactions from scientists across the globe, with many asserting that further research is urgently needed to evaluate the potential impacts of these novel substances. As Mengshi Lin, Ph.D, associate professor at the University of Missouri (MU) and co-author of the study states, “More than 1,000 products on the market are nanotechnology-based products. This is a concern because we do not know the toxicity of the nanoparticles. Our goal is to detect, identify and quantify these nanoparticles in food and food products and study […]

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14
Aug

Think Green, Practice Organic This Semester!

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2013) With another school year upon us, this can be an exciting and busy time of the year for parents and teachers as children prepare for the first day back. During this hectic time, it’s important to remember that children may face unexpected dangers at school from well-intentioned but misguided attempts to create a germ and pest-free environment through the use of pesticides. Students are better served when schools use environmentally friendly products and practice integrated pest management techniques.   Additionally, schools can further their students’ education outside the classroom by providing habitat for wildlife and growing organic food in a school garden.   By thinking green and going organic, your child’s school can become a model for the type of change that’s occurring in communities across the nation. Beyond Pesticides has put together this back-to-school guide to help safeguard your kids from dangerous chemicals at school. Use this list to start the new school year right and ensure that you are sending your kids back to a healthier and safer environment. Fight Germs Without Triclosan Because of its link to adverse health effects – including asthma, cancer and learning dis ­abilities, triclosan has no place […]

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12
Aug

Antimicrobials Alter Stream Communities and Lead to Resistance, Study Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2013) A recent study on triclosan, an antibacterial pesticide found in soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, plastics, and toys, finds that exposure changes the composition of bacterial communities in streams and also increases bacterial resistance. The study contributes to continually mounting evidence demonstrating that triclosan is toxic to human health and the environment, even as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gets ready to review the registration of the chemical. In May, EPA initiated the registration review of triclosan, an antibacterial pesticide that has been heavily scrutinized by concerned groups, including Beyond Pesticides, as well as members of Congress. 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. This study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, took several field and artificial stream surveys, to identify the effects of triclosan on bacterial […]

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23
Jul

Nanoparticles in Athletic Wear: Don’t Sweat It?

(Beyond Pesticides, July 23, 2013) When shopping for sportswear nowadays, you might notice the stickers or tags on some clothing items touting the apparel as “antimicrobial.” What’s not mentioned on those tags, however, is the point that these antimicrobials, often titanium dioxide or silver nanoparticles (nanosilver), are largely untested, and recent studies are revealing that these substances could seep into a person’s sweat and end up being absorbed through one’s skin. Lead researcher of the study published in Environmental Science and Technology, Natalie von Gotz, Ph.D,, found that some pieces of clothing released significant amounts of nanosilver. Manufacturers are adding nanoparticles to clothing in order to tout their ability to block UV rays (titanium dioxide) or prevent mold and smells (nanosilver) on clothing. However, the long-term impacts of this new technology to human health and the environment are still unknown. There are concerns about the ability of nanomaterial to travel through the human body and damage brain, liver, stomach, testes and other organs, as well as pass from mother to fetus, according to a recent Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report. Laundering these products ultimately washes them into our environment because sewage treatment plants are not set up to filter […]

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10
May

EPA Sets New Rules for Antimicrobial Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on May 8 a final rule to revise and update use patterns and data requirements for antimicrobial pesticides. Though the new rule is the first revision to EPA data requirements for antimicrobial pesticide registrations since 1984,   remaining inconsistencies among data submissions and data gaps, these new rules are a step in the right direction when it comes to regulating antimicrobial pesticides, considering the proliferation of consumer products that contain these chemicals. However, even with these new rules in place, certain antimicrobial pesticides that are already in consumer products, such as triclosan, will  still present serious hazards for  human and environmental health. More than 5,000 antimicrobial products are currently registered with EPA. Initially designed for hospitals and clinics, many antimicrobial pesticides are found in products ranging from household cleaners to mattresses and bedding, cosmetics, toys, toothpaste and even chopsticks. Antibacterial products are being marketed to the health conscious without firm evidence of real benefits and amid growing concern about unintended externalities. One prime example of this is triclosan, which is formulated into hundreds of personal care products, toys and textiles. Studies show that triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, […]

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07
May

FDA to Review Triclosan After Decades of Delay

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2013) After 40 years of delay, the Associated Press reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will rule on the safety of the antibacterial chemical triclosan this year. Triclosan is present in hundreds of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products, appearing in some of these products in a formulation known as Microban. The agency’s review comes amid growing pressure from politicians and consumer advocates concerning the safety of this chemical in terms of both human health and the wider environment. In 1972, Congress required FDA to set guidelines for many common antibacterial chemicals found in over-the-counter soaps and scrubs. FDA published tentative guidelines for chemicals used in liquid hand soaps and washes by 1978, stating triclosan was “not generally recognized as safe and effective.” This was due to a lack of scientific research demonstrating the chemical’s safety and effectiveness. FDA published several draft guidelines over the years but never finalized the results. This has allowed companies to keep the chemical in their products. Last summer, FDA said its triclosan review would be completed by the end of 2012. The agency then pushed […]

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06
Mar

Minnesota State Agencies Will No Longer Purchase Products Containing Triclosan

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2013) The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced on March 3rd that state agencies have been ordered by Governor Mark Dayton to stop buying products that contain triclosan, a synthetic, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that has become ubiquitous in consumer products ranging from face-washes to fabrics. This ban, which will go into effect in June, comes as the debate over the efficacy and necessity of triclosan intensifies in the Minnesota State legislature. A bill banning triclosan’s use outside of medical settings is expected to be introduced this week, and the legislature conducted a hearing Tuesday on the possible human health and environmental consequences of the chemical. The state government, about 100 school districts, and local governments together currently buy about $1 million worth of cleaning products annually through joint purchasing contracts. Many of these products contain triclosan, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded in 2010 that products containing triclosan are no more effective than plain old-fashioned soap and water. “There are alternatives, and they are at the same price,” said Cathy Moeger, sustainability manager for the Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency. “If it has an environmental benefit, why not do it?” Triclosan has been used for over […]

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29
Jan

Triclosan and Its Toxic Breakdown Products Found Polluting Freshwater Lakes

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2013) A new study has discovered the anti-bacterial chemical triclosan and several of its toxic derivatives in sediment samples taken from freshwater lakes. Research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology reveals the chemical to be present in increasing concentrations since it was first invented in the 1960’s. The results of this study put increased pressure on lawmakers and cosmetic companies to remove this chemical from consumer products. Beyond Pesticides and other groups, which have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove triclosan from a vast array of consumer products, continues to urge cosmetic companies to take action on the chemical in the face of inadequate regulation to protect human health and the environment. Scientists tested  eight sediment samples from freshwater lakes across Minnesota, including Lake Superior. Bill Arnold, Ph.D.,  co-author of the study and professor at University of Minnesota notes, “We found that in all the lakes there’s triclosan in the sediment, and in general, the concentration increased from when triclosan was invented in 1964 to present day. And we also found there are seven other compounds that are derivatives or degradation products of […]

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04
Jan

EPA Proposes to Clarify Exempt Minimum Risk Pesticide Ingredients

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2013) On December 31, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to clarify its labeling requirement for disclosure of all active and inert ingredients in “minimum risk pesticide products,” exempt from registration under Section 25 (b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The rule (77 FR 250) reorganizes the list of eligible active and inert ingredients by adding identifiers that will clarify for the public, and more importantly for federal and state inspectors, which ingredients are permitted in minimum risk pesticide products. The modification would require labels to use common chemical names in the list of ingredients as well as the contact information for the manufacturer. The lack of clarity on minimum risk pesticide product labels in the past has made it difficult for enforcement officials who must use their own judgment on the applicability of vague descriptors such as cedar leaf oil and cedar wood oil, which are exempt under the current listing of “Cedar Oil” under CFR Section 152.25. While EPA has attempted to improve labeling clarity of minimum risk pesticide products by updating its website, stakeholders have found the measure insufficient. Regulatory Background Currently, EPA is empowered under FIFRA […]

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20
Nov

Tips for an Organic, Least-Toxic Thanksgiving

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2012) Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to eat, drink and be thankful for the bounty of the organic harvest. Unfortunately, there are a host of pesticides, genetically engineered materials, and others in conventional Thanksgiving foods that not only impact human health, but threaten the environment. Read below for some easy tips and suggestions for a healthful Thanksgiving day feast. Organic, free-range, and local turkeys The turkey is the symbol of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. However, turkeys are often fed grains treated with pesticides, medicated with antibiotics, and engorged with steroids and hormones. Additionally, turkeys are often fed an inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, which is used to promote growth and for pigmentation. In order to avoid all these, your best bet is to invest in an organic free-range turkey (pictured right), which is free of hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Want to forgo the turkey altogether? Be sure to choose an organic meatless option. Avoid Genetically Engineered Food: Go Organic There are additionally, a number of Thanksgiving products that probably contain genetically-engineered (GE) ingredients (although the formulations are often considered proprietary trade secrets). According to GMO Inside, some common GE foods used during Thanksgiving […]

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09
Oct

Local Incidents Raise National Concerns Over Safety of Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2012) Sewage sludge is big business in Channahon, IL, but many residents who live near fields treated with the fertilizer believe they’re the ones paying the price. Farms in the area began applying the “biosolids” in 2010, and residents say that’s when their health issues began, according to Morris Daily Herald. Biosolids, otherwise known as sewage sludge, are composed of dried microbes previously used to process wastewater in treatment plants. The material is increasingly being used in conventional agriculture, but its application is explicitly forbidden in organic production. This is because the sludge can contain high concentrations of toxic contaminants, such as pesticides, detergents, estrogenic hormones, antibiotics, dioxins, PCBs, flame retardants, and heavy metals. Past research gives credence to Channahon residents’ claims of adverse health effects as a result of living near sludge coated fields. A 2002 study revealed the material to be associated with an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition known to cause skin rashes and respiratory problems, for people located in close proximity to biosolid application sites. “What they are doing is making a toxic dump of our area. It’s disgusting,” said Channahon resident Pat Budd in an interview with Kris […]

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17
Aug

Johnson and Johnson to Phase Out Triclosan, Regulators Remain Unresponsive

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2012) Part of an increasing trend, 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 the antibacterial triclosan. Beyond Pesticides and other groups, which have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove triclosan from a vast array of consumer products, have urged companies like Johnson and Johnson to take action on the pesticide in the face of inadequate regulation to protect human health and the environment. Along with other chemicals such as formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, the company cites consumer concern over the safety of triclosan as among its reasons for the alteration in its products. While the company downplayed any need for concern over the safety of triclosan, it also hinted 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. On a website the company developed specifically regarding the chemical phase out, it stated, in part, “In recent years, some questions have been raised […]

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16
Aug

Researchers Show Impaired Muscle Function from Antibacterial Chemical, Call on Regulators to Reconsider Consumer Uses

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2012) The antibacterial chemical triclosan, found in popular personal care products such as Colgate ® Total toothpaste and Dial ® Liquid Hand Soap, hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, slows swimming in fish, and reduces muscular strength in mice, according to scientists at the University of California (UC) Davis, and the University of Colorado. UC Davis’s press release explains that the chemical’s effects are so striking that the study “provides strong evidence that triclosan could have effects on animal and human health at current levels of exposure.” The study, “Triclosan impairs excitation—contraction coupling and Ca2+ dynamics in striated muscle,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, enlarges a growing body of work linking triclosan to human and environmental health issues. In “test tube” experiments, triclosan impairs the ability of isolated heart muscle cells and skeletal muscle fibers to contract. Specifically, researchers evaluated the effects of triclosan on molecular channels in muscle cells that control the flow of calcium ions, creating muscle contractions. Normally, electrical stimulation (“excitation”) of isolated muscle fibers under experimental conditions evokes a muscle contraction, a phenomenon known as “excitation-contraction coupling” (ECC), the fundamental basis of any muscle movement, including […]

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18
Jul

Researchers Settle NanoSilver Antimicrobial Mechanism; Low Dose May Enhance Bacteria Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2012) Just as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened the federal docket for the registration review of nanosilver, Rice University researchers settled a long-standing controversy over the mechanism by which silver nanoparticles, the most widely used nanomaterial in the world, kill bacteria. The researchers found that the silver ions, rather than the silver particles, have antimicrobial effects on bacteria. However, their work comes with a warning; low doses of nanosilver can make bacteria stronger and more resistant. Silver nanoparticles are used just about everywhere, including in cosmetics, socks, food containers, detergents, sprays and a wide range of other products to stop the spread of germs. Researchers have debated the mechanisms by which nanosilver particles exert toxicity to bacteria and other organisms. They have long known that silver ions, which flow from nanoparticles when oxidized, are deadly to bacteria. In the study, “Negligible Particle-Specific Antibacterial Activity of Silver Nanoparticles,” published in NanoLetters, the researchers explain that the nanoparticles are practically benign in the presence of microbes. But when in soluble ionic form, that is, when activated via oxidation, nanosilver becomes toxic to bacteria. The research team decided to test nanoparticle toxicity in an anaerobic environment —with […]

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