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Continued Reduction in Sperm Count Raises Call for Action

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2022) Based on new international research adding weight to previous research on falling sperm counts, it is critical that environmental agencies address this and other problems related to endocrine disruption. The study by Levine et al. finds that the drop in sperm count—a drop of 51.6% from 1973 through 2018—is global and that the rate of decline is accelerating. Tell EPA and Congress that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption.  The documented (average) drop in sperm counts is approaching the level at which the ability to cause a pregnancy begins to plummet dramatically. The reduction in male fertility may have profound psychological and social impacts, including anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. These psychological problems have health impacts of their own. Equally serious are connections of anxiety and depression with violent behavior and suicide. Compounding the problem is the fact that men are unlikely to seek fertility-related social support. The drop in sperm counts is just one example of endocrine disruption largely due to exposure to toxic chemicals. The endocrine system consists of a set of glands (thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary) and the hormones they produce (thyroxine, estrogen, testosterone, and adrenaline), which […]

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Take Action: Male Fertility Harmed by Pesticides and EPA Dysfunction

Monday, July 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2022) The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals must end. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology adds urgency to the need to eliminate endocrine-disrupting pesticides. The authors find that prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells, and can have multigenerational effects. This adds to the long list of scientific articles showing EPA neglect of the devastating effects of widely used pesticides. Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as endocrine disruptors that mimic the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as estrogen or testosterone, thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body; block hormone receptors in cells, thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or affect the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), […]

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Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Impair Juvenile Male Fertility Development and Threatens Future Reproductive Health

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2022) A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology finds prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotic (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Many reports demonstrate that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely affect human, animal—and thus environmental—health by altering the natural hormones in the body responsible for conventional reproductive, physical, and mental development. Scientists and health officials already associate pesticide exposure with a decrease in male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. The presence of pesticides in the body has implications for human health, especially during vulnerable life stages, such as childhood, puberty, pregnancy, and old age. Therefore, it is essential to understand how exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment affects future reproductive success and health. The researchers note, “Recent studies revealed that exposures to EDCs during so-called critical windows of susceptibility (prenatal, prepubertal, pubertal, and aging periods) could disrupt healthy patterns of testes development and homeostasis, which can be demonstrated as an impaired testicular function later in life. However, much more work is needed to understand better the cellular […]

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Tell EPA: It Must Ban Pesticides Unless Shown Not To Be Endocrine Disruptors

Monday, August 16th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2021) The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals must end. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for EPA has issued a damning report on the agency’s progress in protecting the population from potentially damaging endocrine disruption impacts of exposures to synthetic chemical pesticides (and other chemicals of concern) that shows the situation to be even worse than previously reported. The OIG’s summary statement says, “Without the required testing and an effective system of internal controls, the EPA cannot make measurable progress toward complying with statutory requirements or safeguarding human health and the environment against risks from endocrine-disrupting chemicals.” As a result, according to the OIG, “we have yet to see EPA use endocrine disruption findings in pesticide registration decisions.” Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. Over recent decades, evidence has mounted showing that many pesticides interfere with hormones—and are therefore endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In 1996, the promise of screening pesticides for endocrine disruption generated support from environmentalists and public health advocates for the Food Quality Protection Act […]

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Ban Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides Now

Monday, April 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2021) The failure of EPA to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals must end. Over recent decades, evidence has mounted showing that many pesticides interfere with hormones—and are therefore endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In 1996, the promise of screening pesticides for endocrine disruption generated support from environmentalists and public health advocates for the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), which traded the absolute prohibition of carcinogens in food of the Delaney Clause for a risk assessment standard that is subject to manipulation and an underestimation of real-life hazards. And now, 25 years later, we have yet to see EPA use endocrine disruption findings in pesticide registration decisions. >>Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. The endocrine system consists of a set of glands (thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary) and the hormones they produce (thyroxine, estrogen, testosterone and adrenaline), which help guide the development, growth, reproduction, and behavior of animals, including humans. Hormones are signaling molecules, which travel through the bloodstream and elicit responses in other parts of the body. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as […]

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Is Your Yoga Mat or Gym Breeding Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2019) The “indoor microbiome” of yoga studios and other athletic facilities often contain significant levels of antibacterial chemicals like triclosan, which show up in dust and breed antibiotic resistance, according to research published last month in the journal mSystems. Triclosan may be banned from hand soaps, but its continued use in a myriad of other products, from disinfectant sprays to impregnated clothing, yoga mats, and other work-out equipment makes it difficult to avoid this now-ubiquitous chemical. This is a public health concern because these antibacterial or antimicrobial chemicals are link to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance kills over 23,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to the CDC, the World Health Organization has cited this escalating problem as become one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Many people may suspect their gym or yoga study is not a germ-free location, but attempts to address these germs through antibacterial sprays or impregnated yoga mats and other surfaces, may be exacerbating the issue—doing much more harm than good. The continued detection of triclosan and its impacts at new and unexpected locations are feeding renewed calls for a complete ban on […]

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FDA Stops Medical Uses of Triclosan in Hospitals, Other Disinfectants to Stay Despite No Safety and Efficacy Data on Controlling Bacteria

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2018) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 19, 2017 announced it was removing from the market 24 over-the-counter (OTC) disinfectants or antimicrobial ingredients, including triclosan, used by health care providers primarily in medical settings like hospitals, health care clinics, and doctors’ offices. The agency took this action because the chemical industry did not respond to a 2015 request for data to support a finding of “generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE).” The decision, which follows a 2016 FDA decision to remove OTC consumer soap products with triclosan for the same reason, leaves numerous consumer products (fabrics and textiles, sponges, undergarments, cutting boards, hair brushes, toys, prophylactics, other plastics, etc.) on the market with triclosan (often labeled as microban) under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The December decision leaves in commerce six antiseptic compounds widely used in the hospital and medical setting, in response to industry requests for more time to develop safety and efficacy data. In what appears to contradict FDA’s finding that it does not have sufficient data to make a GRASE finding for antiseptic products used in the health care and medical setting, the agency is leaving […]

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Citing a Serious Health Threat, Over 200 International Scientists Call for Limit on Antibacterial Triclosan

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2017) More than 200 international scientists and medical professionals have signed the Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban, which states that triclosan and its chemical cousin triclocarban pose a risk to human health, and urges the international community to limit use of these antimicrobials, which are associated with bacterial resistance and no more effective than soap and water. In 2016 after manufacturers failed to prove efficacy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates cosmetic triclosan products, announced that manufacturers must, by September 2017, remove triclosan from over the counter hand soaps. The agency still allows the chemical in toothpastes and other products, such as hand wipes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates triclosan in household items, textiles and plastics, still permits wide use of the chemical in a range of products. The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban is “based on extensive peer-reviewed research,” and “concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms.” The statement includes evidence of human health threats, and provides recommendations intended to mitigate harm from triclosan, triclocarban, and other similar antimicrobials. The recommendations are listed below: “Avoid […]

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Levels of Triclosan Spike in Children Following Hand Washing or Tooth Brushing

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2017) According to a new study, levels of triclosan spike in the bodies of children after they brush their teeth or wash their hands. Triclosan, a controversial antimicrobial, is frequently added to consumer care products. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of triclosan in hand soaps, but it is still allowed in toothpaste and numerous plastic and textile products regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many companies had previously decided, due to consumer pressure, to remove triclosan from hand soaps years ahead of the FDA decision. Researchers collected and tested the urine of 389 mothers and their children –three times during pregnancy, and then took between 1-6 samples from children between the ages of 1 and 8 years old. The researchers found triclosan in over 70% of samples taken. In the group of 8 year olds, they report that levels were 66% higher in the children that used hand soap. For those that wash their hands over five times a day, the levels increase more than four times in comparison to children who wash their hands once or less per day. For toothpaste, researchers find that children who had […]

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NY State Senator Calls For Statewide Triclosan Ban

Friday, November 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2015) New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-NY) has called for a statewide ban on triclosan, one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in common household products. Minnesota is the only state to have passed a triclosan  ban. If passed, the New York Bill (Bill S6070) would prohibit the sale of cleaning products containing triclosan, triclocarban, or derivatives of similar antibacterial compounds, and mark a clear victory for human health and safety interests within the state. Triclosan has been used for over 30 years in the U.S., mostly in a medical setting, but more recently in consumer products. Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation  of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban, called on manufacturers to stop using triclosan in its products and retailers to stop carrying these products, and previously petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the cancellation of registered products that contain the antibacterial pesticide. In May 2015, EPA issued its long-awaited response to the Citizen Petition filed by Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch, denying the request. When introduced to the market in 1972, triclosan was confined to hospital and health care settings. Since […]

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Safety Concerns Raised as California Turns to Synthetic Turf to Save Water

Monday, September 28th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2015) On September 4, in an attempt to curb the overuse of water on lawns, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed into law Bill (AB 349)  (effective immediately), which prohibits homeowner associations (HOAs) from barring the installation of synthetic turf. Artificial turf has become popular over the years, and is now widely used on athletic fields and lawns across the U.S. While praised as a solution for drought-stricken states, synthetic turf has fallen under scrutiny.  A NBC investigative report raised safety concerns regarding rubber infill in the turf. Parents and administrators are looking for alternatives to replace rubber infill beneath the turf, but unfortunately the available solutions do not address all the dangers associated with artificial turf. With all forms of synthetic turf, toxic pesticides and antimicrobials are still needed for maintenance, putting children and athletes in danger. Crumb rubber, the most common infill material used in synthetic turf systems, has, according to a recent report by Environment and Human Health, Inc., carcinogenic potential and poses a danger to the health of children and athletes. Now, parents and administrators are turning to organic infill as a replacement, which consists of coconut husks, fibers and cork. While […]

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Crops Take Up Pesticides, Drugs from Treated Wastewater Irrigation

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2014) A new study finds that the increasingly common use of treated wastewater on food crops can result in contamination from chemicals like DEET, triclosan, and pharmaceutical drugs. The study, titled “Treated Wastewater Irrigation: Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products by Common Vegetables under Field Conditions” and published in Environmental Science & Technology,  measures levels of 19 commonly occurring pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in eight  types of vegetables irrigated with treated wastewater under field conditions. The analytes studied include compounds that are commonly detected in treated wastewater, including 16 pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen, caffeine, meprobamate, atenolol, trimethoprim, carbamazepine, diazepam, gemfibrozil, and primidone) and three  personal care products (DEET, triclosan, and triclocarban). The vegetable species included in the  study are carrot, celery, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, and tomato, which were included because they are often consumed raw by people and are also among the most important cash crops in arid and semi-arid regions, such as southern California, where there has been a rapid increase in irrigation with treated wastewater. The study points to water shortages in many parts of the world and the U.S. as factors contributing to the increase in use of recycled […]

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School’s Back in Session, Leave the Toxins Behind

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2014) It’s back to school time again, which for many of our readers and parents across the country means the unnerving possibility of hazardous pesticide exposure at school from well-intentioned but misguided attempts to create a germ and pest-free environment. Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their small size and developing organ systems, using toxic chemicals to get rid of pests and germs harms students much more than it helps. Fortunately, parents and teachers have many options for safer techniques and strategies to implement a pest management program at schools without relying on these toxic chemicals. Additionally, schools can further their students’ education beyond the lessons of the text book by providing habitat for wildlife and growing organic food in a school garden.  By going organic, your child’s school can become a model for communities across the nation. Beyond Pesticides has put together this back-to-school checklist of programs and steps you can take to ensure that you are sending your kids back to a healthier and safer environment. Get Organized and Improve Your School’s Pest Management Program Whether you’re a parent, community activist, landscaper, school administrator or employee, use these steps to […]

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Antibacterial Soap Exposes Health Workers to High Triclosan Levels

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2014) In case there wasn’t enough news about the hazards of the ubiquitous antibacterial chemical triclosan in the past week, another study published Tuesday finds additional risks associated with exposure to the pesticide. The study, Health Care Worker Exposures to the Antibacterial Agent Triclosan, led by researchers at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) finds that washing hands with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan. In the study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers analyze urine samples from two groups of 38 doctors and nurses at two hospitals, identified as Hospital 1 and Hospital 2. Hospital 1 used an antibacterial soap containing 0.3 percent triclosan, while Hospital 2 used plain soap and water. Workers at Hospital 1 had significantly higher levels of triclosan in their urine than workers at Hospital 2. “Antimicrobial soaps can carry unknown risks, and triclosan is of particular concern,” said co-investigator Paul Blanc, MD, a professor of medicine at UCSF who holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “Our study shows that people absorb this chemical at work and at home, depending on the products […]

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Triclosan Found in Pregnant Mothers’ Bodies Transfers to Fetus

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2014) The presence of triclosan in soaps and consumer products ranging from cutting boards to pencils means constant exposure to a chemical linked to a wide range of adverse health effects. New data to be presented at the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, reveals that 100% of pregnant women in a multiethnic urban population in Brooklyn, New York tested positive for triclosan in their urine. In half of the pregnant women tested, the chemical also showed up in umbilical cord blood. “We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products,” says study co-author Benny Pycke, Ph.D at Arizona State University. “We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples we took, which means it transfers to fetuses.” In 2004, Beyond Pesticides published The Ubiquitous Triclosan, sounding the alarm on the rising use of an antibacterial chemical never adequately evaluated for adverse effects by the U.S. Food and […]

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Assessment of Triclosan Hazards Supports Call for Canadian Ban

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2014) The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Clean Production Action (CPA) released a comprehensive assessment of the hazards posed by triclosan and its chemical cousin triclocarbon Thursday, calling on the Canadian Government to create a comprehensive phase-out plan for these harmful antibacterial chemicals. The report, which finds that the chemicals are accumulating in the waters of the Great Lakes, also suggests that the U.S. and all provinces and states bordering the Great Lakes should prohibit use of the chemicals. The two antibacterial chemicals are commonly used in consumer products ranging from liquid soaps and toothpaste to kitchen cutting boards, and have come under increased scrutiny amidst human health concerns and lack of efficacy. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has been calling for a ban on the household use of triclosan since 2009, and in 2012, the Canadian government declared triclosan as toxic to the environment. In the U.S., Beyond Pesticides has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterpart, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (which regulates non-cosmetic products with triclosan) for years to immediately ban triclosan from consumer products, citing endocrine disruption, and other human health concerns. Last December,  FDA announced  it […]

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Take Action: Tell FDA to Remove Triclosan from Consumer Products

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2014) Triclosan, the antibacterial pesticide found in numerous hand soaps, toothpastes, and other cosmetics, has had a ubiquitous presence on the consumer market for over 30 years. But due to public pressure led by Beyond Pesticides, our allies, and concerned supporters, many manufacturers have been washing their hands of triclosan. Now after years of inaction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going to require data to support triclosan’s claims of being “safe and effective.” The time is now to let the agency know that triclosan is NOT safe or effective for human and environmental health. Raise your voice with a unique public comment to FDA! Use the sample letter below for guidance. Rising Evidence Against Safety Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation  of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban. Studies show that triclosan can interfere with thyroid and estrogen hormones, and may promote the progression of cancer cells. This is alarming given that the CDC has found that 75% of the U.S. population contain triclosan in their bodies, even in breast milk, and at levels that are rising. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown […]

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Minnesota Bans Hazardous Antibacterial (Triclosan) in Consumer Personal Care Cleaning Products

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2014) The highly toxic and controversial antibacterial/antimicrobial pesticide triclosan has been banned from consumer personal care cleaning products in the state of Minnesota by an act of the state legislature. This public health measure,  SF 2192, signed by  the Governor last week, states that “no person shall offer for retail sale in Minnesota any cleaning product that that contains triclosan and is used by consumers for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing.”  The ban, along with the growing number of companies voluntarily removing triclosan from their products, responds to the concerns that environmental groups, led by Beyond Pesticides, have expressed on the health and environmental impacts of triclosan, which includes cross-resistance to bacterial infections with antibiotics.  Over the last week the Minnesota legislature has been on a roll in defending the environment and human health from the toxic effects of synthetic pesticides, including the enactment of  labeling legislation,  HF 2798, which will inform consumers about bee-friendly plants.   The triclosan ban legislation, which will take effect on  January  1, 2017, was  signed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on May 16, 2014  after it had passed both the House and Senate the week previously. One of  the […]

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

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

(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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Proctor and Gamble to Eliminate Triclosan from Its Products by 2014

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

(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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Think Green, Practice Organic This Semester!

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

(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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FDA to Review Triclosan After Decades of Delay

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

(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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Toxic Contamination Remains Widespread In the Chesapeake Bay

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2013) A new federal report finds toxic contamination remains widespread in the Chesapeake Bay, with severe impacts in some places, which health and environmental advocates say lends support to their push in Maryland for legislative action on pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. In spite of some cleanup, the health of the Bay has not significantly improved. The report, “Technical Report on Toxic Contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay and its Watershed: Extent and Severity of Occurrence and Potential Biological Effects” is based on a review of integrated water-quality assessment reports from the jurisdictions in the Bay watershed (Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.), Federal and State reports, and articles in scientific journals. It notes that nearly three-fourths of the Bay’s tidal waters are “fully or partially impaired” by toxic chemicals, with people warned to limit fish consumption from certain areas. Contamination is severe in a handful of “hot spots” around the Bay, including Baltimore’s harbor, largely a legacy of past industrial and shipping activity. Previous reports have called on federal, state and local government to accelerate research into what threats chemical contamination may pose to the Bay, and to step up efforts […]

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