Groups Tell EPA to Stop Widespread Uses of Anti-Bacterial Consumer Chemical Product

Jul 07, 2008, 01:00 ET from Beyond Pesticides

    WASHINGTON, July 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In comments filed today
 with the Environmental Protection Agency on its new risk assessment and
 evaluation of the widely used anti-bacterial chemical triclosan, found in a
 wide range of products including soaps, toothpastes and personal care
 products, plastics, paints and clothing, public interest health and
 environmental groups point to health effects, environmental contamination
 and wildlife impacts and call for consumer uses to be halted.
     The comments, submitted by Beyond Pesticides, Food and Water Watch,
 Greenpeace US, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and dozens of
 public health and environmental groups from the U.S. and Canada, urge the
 agency to use its authority to cancel the non-medical uses of the
 antibacterial chemical triclosan, widely found in consumer products and
 shown to threaten health and the environment. Triclosan and its degradation
 products bioaccumulate in humans, is widely found in the nation's
 waterways, fish and aquatic organisms, and because of its proliferating
 uses, are linked to bacterial resistance, rendering triclosan and
 antibiotics ineffective for critical medical uses. The chemical and its
 degradates are also linked to endocrine disruption, cancer and dermal
     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 (AMA) is on record questioning the efficacy of
 triclosan in consumer products, raising the question of whether the
 consumer uses are necessary and are doing more harm than good. The
 coalition of groups commenting today, in addition to the hazards cited,
 criticizes EPA for not completing an analysis of the impact of triclosan on
 endangered species and other deficiencies in its review.
     The EPA's public comment period for the reevaluation of triclosan,
 known as the reregistration eligibility decision (RED), closes today. The
 document releases EPA's risk assessment and its decision to allow
 triclosan's uses to continue and expand. 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
     In separate comments today, water utilities commented that triclosan
 and its degradation products are not cleaned out of the water treatment
 process and end up in sewage sludge, often referred to as biosolids.
 Research shows that earthworms take in triclosan residues, as do fish and
 aquatic organisms. Concerns have also been raised about residues in
 drinking water.

SOURCE Beyond Pesticides