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Johnson and Johnson to Phase Out Triclosan, Regulators Remain Unresponsive

Friday, August 17th, 2012

(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 […]


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

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

(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 […]


Citing Lack of Efficacy, EPA Orders Hospital Disinfectant Removed from Market

Monday, April 30th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the manufacturer of an antimicrobial disinfectant intended for use in hospitals to remove the product from sale. Citing a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA issued a Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Order (SSURO) on April 16 to Zep, Inc. for its product “ZEP Formula 165.” EPA determined through its Antimicrobial Testing Program (ATP) that this antimicrobial disinfectant was, contrary to label claims, ineffective against the debilitating and potentially fatal human pathogen Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (pictured right). EPA identified multiple FIFRA labeling violations after analyzing a sample of the product, which it collected on May 26, 2011. FIFRA requires a pesticide labeled as an antimicrobial pesticide to “disinfect, sanitize, reduce or mitigate growth or development of microbiological organisms.” When laboratory analysis established that “ZEP Formula 165” used in accordance with the label instructions was not effective against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the false label claim constituted a FIFRA violation. EPA cited the manufacturer for a second violation after determining that the sample it collected contained an amount of the active ingredient Para-tertiary-amyl phenyl that exceeded the upper certified limit that was established for that ingredient in […]


Canada To Declare Triclosan Toxic to Environment

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2012) The Canadian government is set to declare the bacteria killer found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and anti-bacterial soaps as toxic to the environment, a move which could see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply in Canada. Triclosan, the chemical in question, has been linked to numerous human and environmental health effects and has been the subject of petitions calling for its ban from consumer products. Health Canada has been probing the effects of triclosan on the body’s endocrine system and whether the antibacterial agent contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance along with the effect of widespread use on the environment. The draft risk assessment finds triclosan to be toxic to the environment but but does not find enough evidence to say it is hazardous to human health. The formal proposal to list the chemical as toxic to the environment will be published Friday. Triclosan exploded on to the marketplace in hundreds of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products. While antibacterial products are marketed as agents that protect and safeguard against potential harmful bacteria, studies conclude that antibacterial soaps show no health […]


Report Highlights Risk From Antibacterial Chemicals In Clothing

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2011) The Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) has published an analysis of the antibacterial chemicals triclosan, triclocarban and silver textile products that finds these antibacterial chemicals to significantly leach out of treated products after washing. In the case of triclosan and triclocarban, about half or more of the original content is washed out after ten washes. The report questions the necessity of antibacterial textiles and highlights concerns about the increasing use of antibacterial products, and the hazards these substances pose to waterways and human health. The antibacterial treatment is usually marketed and labeled with the stated purpose of preventing odors in textiles. The Swedish Chemicals Agency analyzed 30 textile articles (English summary on page 7), specifically three antibacterial agents incorporated into the fabric, including silver (nanosilver), triclosan, and triclocarban. Concentrations of the antibacterials in fabrics fell after washing. In the case of triclosan and triclocarban, about half or more of the original content was washed out after ten washes. In the case of silver, the original concentration and washed-out content varied to a large extent. After ten washes, 10-98 percent of the silver had been washed out of the textiles. After three washes, half of the silver […]


Industry Study Touts ‘Safety’ of Triclosan Soaps, Dismissing Independent Adverse Effects Data

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2011) A new industry-funded study that claims to “Reaffirm Safe Use of Triclosan, Triclocarban in Antibacterial Soaps and Washes,” concludes that triclosan and triclocarban soaps do not facilitate antibiotic resistance and antibiotic cross-resistance. The study, sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute and the Personal Care Products Council, long supporters of the antibacterial pesticide triclosan, dismisses previous independent data that has identified triclosan as a promoter of antibacterial resistance and calls for precautionary measures against the unnecessary but widespread use of antibacterial agents. The study, “Investigation of Antibiotic and Antibacterial Susceptibility and Resistance In Staphylococcus From The Skin Of Users and Nonusers Of Antibacterial Wash Products In Home Environments,” found that there was no statistically significant difference in antibiotic resistance in the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, exposed to triclosan and triclocarban soaps compared with those not exposed. The study collected swab samples from the forearms of participants that used triclosan, triclocarban, and a control group that used neither. The study’s conclusions are not surprising since this industry has been a vocal and active promoter of the antibacterial products they manufacture and represent. Beyond Pesticides has previously responded to the American Cleaning Institute’s (formerly the Soap and Detergent Association) […]


EPA Cited for Ineffective Regulation of Antimicrobials

Friday, January 7th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2011) The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a report criticizing the agency’s lack of regulation concerning antimicrobial products. Citing a number of failures, the report finds that the EPA’s Antimicrobial Testing Program (ATP) has been largely inadequate in testing products to ensure safety and efficacy, and has failed to remove products that did not meet program standards. This report is especially of concern because some antimicrobials, such as triclosan, are known to cause dangerous public health and environmental hazards. Triclosan is one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in products ranging from soaps and toothpastes to fabrics and toys. Studies have increasingly linked triclosan (and its chemical cousin triclocarban), to a range of adverse health and environmental effects, from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial, endocrine disruption and compounded antibiotic resistant, tainted water, and dioxin contamination to destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems. Through ATP, antimicrobial products including hospital disinfectants and tuberculocides are meant to be tested to ensure that they meet health standards and that the claims on the product labels are accurate. However, OIG has found that “EPA’s implementation of the ATP has not delivered […]


New Data Shows Increased Triclosan Exposure

Monday, August 9th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2010) Two separate findings that showcase increased exposure and potential for exposure in humans to the toxic chemical triclosan add to the mounting evidence that the non-medical use of this chemical should be banned. Newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that levels of triclosan in humans have increased by 50% since 2004. Moreover, a study by the University of Toledo shows that triclosan and triclocarbon, a similar compound, can enter the food chain through use of contaminated water or fertilizer on agricultural crops. CDC’s updated National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals finds that the 50% increase in levels of triclosan is across all demographics in the U.S. population. Data was collected on the concentration of triclosan in urine. Affluent people and those over the age of 20 have the highest concentrations of triclosan in their urine. The study released by the University of Toledo, “Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products by Soybean Plants from Soils Applied with Biosolids and Irrigated with Contaminated Water,” examines the potential for crops to take up contaminants such as triclosan from water or fertilizer. Conventional crops are often fertilized with sewage […]


Lawsuit Seeks Timeline for FDA Action on Antibacterial Pesticide Triclosan

Friday, July 30th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2010) Adding to a campaign that Beyond Pesticides launched in 2004 to alert the public and pressure government to restrict the highly toxic antibacterial chemical triclosan -commonly found in antibacterial soaps and household and consumer products, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit earlier this week against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for failing to issue a final rule regulating the chemical. The lawsuit follows on the heels of two petitions filed by Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch in 2009 and 2010 with FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), respectively, to ban the chemical. Because of the widespread poisoning and environmental contamination caused by triclosan, the petitions cite numerous violations of statutory duties under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. The NRDC lawsuit adds yet another dimension to the legal violations involving agency malfeasance on triclosan by asking the court to impose a strict deadline for FDA to finalize a proposed rule that has been pending for 32 years and could ban many uses of triclosan and its chemical cousin triclocarban. […]


Ask Your Local Retailers to Stop Selling Triclosan Products

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2010) Beyond Pesticides has drafted sample text (see below), and we need your help to deliver a letter to your local supermarket, cosmetics store or co-op asking them to stop selling products that contain triclosan. Hundreds of products containing the antibacterial chemical triclosan decorate the shelves of retail stores across the country. From hand soap and toothpastes, to toys and yoga mats, triclosan is everywhere. Product labels will read “triclosan,” “triclocarban” (a related compound found in bar soaps) or “Microban” (a formulation of triclosan used in plastics and fabrics). It is time to take action and demand that this endocrine disrupting chemical is removed from the products we use and love. When consumers demand more for their health and well-being, retailers and manufacturers of triclosan products must listen. Triclosan, which has a similar chemical structure as dioxin, is linked to various health and environmental problems. It is associated with skin irritation, has been shown to interfere with the body’s hormones, and has been linked to an increased risk of developing respiratory illness, or asthma, and cancer, as well as subtle effects on learning ability. Because the chemical goes down the drain, it wreaks havoc with the […]


Triclosan Withdrawn as Food Contact Additive in Europe Following Action in U.S.

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2010) The European Commission has announced that triclosan has been formally withdrawn from the European list for use as a food contact additive; however, plastic materials that are intended to come in contact with food and placed on the market before November 2010 may still be sold until November 2011. The decision follows the European Union’s 2009 regulations to impose limits on the amount of triclosan contained in cosmetics. Ciba, the Swiss-based company that is a subsidiary of BASF, announced last year that they had withdrawn the application of triclosan as a food contact additive so that they could instead focus their sales in the personal hygiene, health care and medical device sector. The company declared this to be a “strategic business decision” and declared that triclosan use as as an additive in plastics intended to come into contact with food was no longer “appropriate.” In the U.S. in 2009, Ciba requested a voluntarily cancellation of the registrations for the technical grade triclosan regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and incorporated into plastics and textiles. Ciba continues to market triclosan for medical and personal care products, which are regulated by the U.S. Food and […]


FDA’s New Triclosan Factsheet Questions Need But Plays Down Hazards

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2010) In a new consumer factsheet posted April 8, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempts to moderate the position it took in a February 23, 2010 letter to Congress in which it said, “[E]xisting data raise valid concerns about the effects of repetitive daily human exposure to these antiseptic ingredients” and “FDA shares your concerns over the potential effects of triclosan and triclocarban as endocrine disruptors that has emerged since we issued the TFM [Tentative Final Monograph] in 1994.” Instead, in bureaucractic-speak FDA is now saying, “[T]riclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans.” Safety advocates say that the FDA’s latest statement creates public confusion as the triclosan market continues to grow and manufacturers in the soap and cosmetics industry daily push misleading advertising claims about the protection from bacteria attributed to the toxic ingredient triclosan. While equivocating on the science on triclosan’s adverse effects, FDA does question the efficacy of the widely marketed triclosan products with the statement, “At this time the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.” The new FDA factsheet, featured […]


Take Action: Tell FDA That Triclosan Is Too Hazardous to the Environment

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2010) On February 22, 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a federal notice requesting data and information regarding the potential environmental impact of triclosan’s use in acne and antiplaque/antigingivitis products. The agency, in order to comply with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), must complete environmental assessments (EA) for active ingredients before they are included in the agency’s over-the-counter (OTC) drug regulation system. Triclosan, a controversial antibacterial agent found in hundreds of consumer products, from hand sanitizers to toys, is one of 13 chemicals being assessed by FDA for environmental impacts according to their proposed uses. According to FDA regulations, the agency must conduct EAs before chemicals are approved for use in OTC drug products. In this case, triclosan is being considered for use in acne and antiplaque/antigingivitis products. Even though this action is being taken, FDA has never been able to finalize and approve the use of triclosan in any OTC products, despite the proliferation of these products in the consumer marketplace. It appears that EAs for the vast majority of triclosan uses have been completed. Other FDA regulations on triclosan have not been updated since 1994 and much of the data […]


Biomonitoring Data Links Brain Effects to Neurotoxic Chemical Exposure

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2010) In an innovative development that could transform the way Americans view the origins of learning and developmental disabilities, the national Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) released the first-ever biomonitoring report identifying toxic chemical pollution in people from the learning and developmental disability community. Mind, Disrupted: How Toxic Chemicals May Affect How We Think and Who We Are examines 61 toxic chemicals present in project participants in the context of rising rates of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning and developmental disabilities.   In the U. S., 5-15% of children under age 18 are affected by learning and developmental disabilities. Reported cases of autism spectrum disorders have increased tenfold since the early 1990s. Based on current research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 in 110 eight-year-old children have autism in the United States. Mind, Disrupted measured levels of a set of neurotoxic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the participants’ bodies. A growing body of peer-reviewed scientific research, including animal and human studies, shows that these chemicals can disrupt the development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. Eleven of the twelve study participants had detectable levels of triclosan in […]


Over 75 Groups Petition EPA to Ban Triclosan Uses Tied to Widespread Contamination

Friday, January 15th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2010) Yesterday, environmental and health groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of the widely used antimicrobial pesticide triclosan, which is linked to endocrine disruption, cancer and antibiotic resistance and found in 75% of people tested in government biomonitoring studies. Over 75 groups, lead by Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch, say EPA must act to stop the use of a chemical now commonly found in soaps, toothpaste, deordorants, cosmetics, clothing, and plastic, with a nearly $1 billion market and growing. In their petition, the groups cite numerous statutes under which they believe the government must act to stop non-medical uses of triclosan, including laws regulating pesticide registration, use and residues, clean and safe drinking water, and endangered species. “Given its widespread environmental contamination and public health risk, EPA has a responsibility to ban household triclosan use in a marketplace where safer alternatives are available to manage bacteria,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “Scientific studies indicate that widespread use of triclosan causes a number of serious health and environmental problems,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “EPA needs to ban its use in non-medical […]


Congressman Grills EPA and FDA for Lack of Action on Triclosan

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2010) The House Energy and Environment Subcommittee chairman asked federal regulators for an open discussion about the health and environmental impacts of two controversial chemicals- triclosan and triclocarban- commonly found in antimicrobial hand soaps and other consumer products. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is asking U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for answers to questions about triclosan and triclocarban. The synthetic antimicrobial chemicals are found in many soaps, toothpastes, deodorants and cosmetics. “Despite serious questions regarding the safety of these potentially dangerous products, these substances seem to exist in a regulatory black hole,” Rep. Markey said in a statement. “We must ensure that these products … kill germs without adversely impacting human health.” Read letter to EPA and FDA. In the letter to EPA, Rep. Markey questions whether the agency is reviewing existing data on the two chemicals, and if it has made a decision about further regulating them. He also asked if the agency has examined the impact of triclosan on wildlife, and whether it plans to evaluate the chemicals under its hormone-screening program, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. The lawmaker also pushed FDA on its plan for finalizing a […]


Report Shows Overuse of Disinfectants Is Harmful

Monday, December 14th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2009) A new report links disinfectant chemicals with chronic illnesses and conditions such as asthma, hormone imbalance, and immune system problems. The report, Disinfectant Overkill: How Too Clean May Be Hazardous to Our Health, was released by the national environmental health group Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), and cites more than 40 peer-reviewed reports and scientific studies that document the health impacts of chemicals found in household disinfectants. Chemicals reviewed in the report include chlorine bleach, ammonia, triclosan and triclocarban, ammonium quarternary compounds, and nano-silver. “Companies are working hard to convince consumers, and especially moms, that they need to regularly disinfect every surface in their homes to protect their families from illness. But that’s simply not true and it may not be healthy,” says WVE staff scientist and report author Alexandra Scranton. “We’re encouraging consumers to go back to basics for cleaning, with less of a focus on disinfection and more on non-toxic cleaners and a little elbow grease.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), frequent hand washing with hot water and regular soap is the best way to prevent infection and illness. “Antimicrobial chemicals available in the home today were […]


Groups Petition to Suspend Sewage Sludge Distribution

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2009) The Center the Food Safety and the Resource Institute for Low Entropy Systems have petitioned the City of San Francisco and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to immediately suspend the SFPUC’s Compost Giveaway program because the compost is made with sewage sludge which contains toxic chemicals and hazardous materials. The petition, submitted last Wednesday, cites that the distribution of contaminated compost will spread toxic sludge to homeowners’ backyards, increasing the risk of health problems to children and the community. The SFPUC’s compost giveaway program distributes free compost as part of the commission’s recycling efforts to community gardens, school gardens and local residents. The compost is made of sewage sludge, derived as a by-product of wastewater and sewage treatment, and contains heavy metals, pathogens, pharmaceuticals, PCB’s, flame retardants and endocrine disruptors, such as the antibacterial triclosan. “San Franciscans may think they’re getting a gift from the city, but this is no gift. City residents could be at serious risk of poisoning from the application of sewage sludge to local crops and gardens,” said Paige Tomaselli, staff attorney for the Center for Food Safety. “With this petition, we’re strongly urging the Mayor to put an […]


Canadian Medical Association Calls for Ban of Household Products Containing Triclosan

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2009) At its annual convention, the Canadian Medical Association called on the federal government to ban the sale of household antibacterial products such as those containing triclosan. The motion was proposed by Ottawa family physician Kapil Khatter, M.D., who is also president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. He says he can understand the appeal of antibacterial products, but in reality they do more harm than good. Strong scientific evidence suggests that pervasive use of triclosan poses imminent threats to human health and the environment, which is why Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch submitted an amended petition a month ago to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking to ban the use of the controversial pesticide triclosan for non-medical applications. The petition establishes that FDA’s allowance of triclosan in the retail market violates the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. The CMA resolution echoes concerns raised not only by Beyond Pesticides, but also by the American Medical Association (AMA) that date as far back as 2000, citing the lack of studies pertaining to the health and environmental effects of its widespread use. Because no data exists to support the need […]


This School Year, Parents Encouraged to Fight Germs without Hazardous Antibacterials

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2009) As children return to school, health and environmental groups are encouraging parents to protect their children from harmful germs without using hazardous chemicals in lunch bags, school supplies, soaps and sanitizers. The dangers of and alternatives to using triclosan (often marketed as Microban) and the related compound triclocarban, are documented in new educational materials for parents. The factsheet, What’s the right answer to the germ question?, by Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch, pulls together information from various scientific studies documenting the adverse impacts of triclosan on health and the environment, as well as antibiotic and antibacterial resistance. It also provides alternatives, cites Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for hand washing and disease prevention, and lists triclosan-free brands and retailers. Triclosan is associated with skin irritation or eczema, has been shown to interfere with the body’s hormones, and has been linked to an increased risk of developing respiratory illness, or asthma, and cancer, as well as subtle effects on learning ability. Because the chemical goes down the drain, it also wreaks havoc with the environment, converting to highly toxic dioxins and contaminating waterways and wildlife. Furthermore, by killing some, but not all bacteria, […]


Groups File Petition to FDA to Ban Triclosan for Non-Medical Uses

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

On July 14, 2009, Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch submitted an amended petition to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requiring that the agency ban the use of the controversial pesticide triclosan for non-medical applications on the basis that those uses violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. Strong scientific evidence suggests that pervasive use of triclosan poses imminent threats to human health and the environment. “Numerous scientific studies and reports clearly indicate that in addition to its human health and environmental dangers, triclosan is not effective for many of its intended benefits and may actually be doing consumers more harm than good,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Even worse, is that current regulations on triclosan haven’t been updated since 1994 and much of the science used by the FDA to regulate the pesticide dates back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. The agency’s inconsideration of new scientific research on triclosan represents an egregious failure to properly protect the public against this dangerous pesticide.” Regulated by both the FDA and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), triclosan is commonly found in hand soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, laundry detergents, fabric […]


Antibacterial Pesticide Triclosan Contaminates Dolphins

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2009) According to a study published in the August-September 2009 issue of the journal Environmental Pollution, the presence of triclosan, a widely-used antibacterial pesticide found in products from countertops to toothpaste, was detected in the in the blood of bottlenose dolphins. The study, “Occurrence of triclosan in plasma of wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and in their environment,” was the first to find triclosan in the blood of a marine mammal, suggesting that contamination from sewage systems is widespread. According to a synopsis by Environmental Health News, the study examined dolphins from rivers, an estuary, a harbor and a lagoon in South Carolina and Florida. In this study, wild bottlenose dolphins were live captured from several sites within an estuary in Charleston, SC and in the Indian River Lagoon, FL in 2005. Blood samples taken from 13 animals in each area revealed triclosan in 31 and 23 percent of the animals from the two sites, respectively, at levels ranging from 0.025 to 0.27 parts per billion. These levels are similar to what has been measured in the blood of humans. When introduced to the market in 1972, triclosan was confined to hospital and health care settings. Since […]


New Test Detects Triclosan in Water

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2009) A new test for triclosan, developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), could help to expedite environmental monitoring of this widely used antibacterial chemical which has been found at high concentrations in rivers and other water resources. Triclosan is linked to a range of health and environmental effects, from skin irritation, bacterial resistance and endocrine disruption, to dioxin contamination and adverse impacts on fragile aquatic ecosystems. The new test called “magnetic particle enzyme immunoassay,” can detect triclosan at a concentration of 20 parts per trillion (ppt)-the equivalent of 1 ounce in 31 million tons. The research team at ARS evaluated the test by using it to detect triclosan and its derivative, methyl-triclosan, in river water, tap water and sewage samples from three municipal plants. They were able to detect triclosan below 20 ppt (the detection limit), indicating very low levels of triclosan in the collected samples. ARS chemist, Weilin L. Shelver, at the ARS Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research Unit in Fargo, N.D., developed the new triclosan test in collaboration with Jennifer Church, Lisa Kamp and Fernando Rubio, a research team at Abraxis, Inc., of Warminster, Pa. Ms. Shelver says […]