Coalition Wants to Halt Some Uses of Triclosan

Beyond Pesticides, Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace US, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and dozens of public health and environmental groups from the United States and Canada urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the non-medical uses of the antibacterial chemical triclosan, according to a July 7 press release .

The agency is conducting a new risk assessment and evaluation of triclosan. The coalition made the request during the public comment period for the reevaluation.

Triclosan, which is widely used in soaps, toothpastes, and personal care products, plastics, paints, and clothing, can be found in the nation's waterways, fish and aquatic organisms, and are linked to bacterial resistance. The chemical and its degradation products also are linked to endocrine disruption, cancer, and dermal sensitization.

The non-medical uses of triclosan are frivolous and dangerous, creating serious direct health and environmental hazards and long-term health problems associated with the creation of resistant strains of bacteria, said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. The American Medical Association is on record questioning the efficacy of triclosan in consumer products.

The coalition also criticizes EPA for not completing an analysis of the impact of triclosan on endangered species and other deficiencies in its review.

Now that the comment period has ended, EPA will ultimately make a reregistration eligibility decision (RED) on triclosan. EPA shares responsibility for regulating triclosan with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). EPA has jurisdiction over treated textiles, paints, and plastics, and FDA is responsible for soaps, toothpaste, deodorants, and antiseptics. The RED, however, is intended to assess the potential adverse effects across all uses.

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