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EPA publishes petition to ban triclosan

By Andrew McDougall , 15-Dec-2010
Last updated on 15-Dec-2010 at 17:59 GMT

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing a petition from Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch in the Federal Register requesting a ban on the antimicrobial pesticide triclosan.

Announcing a 60-day public comment period, EPA published the petition filed by 82 public health and environmental groups which are attempting to ban the antimicrobial/antibacterial pesticide, triclosan, found in products from clothing to soaps, for non-medical use.

"We're calling on the public to urge EPA to consider the full extent of triclosan's impact on people's health and the environment and ban its non-medical uses," said Jay Feldman executive director of Beyond Pesticides.

The Federal Register notice (Petition for a Ban on Triclosan, 75 FR 76461, December 8, 2010) invites the public to comment until February 7, 2011 on the need to ban triclosan under numerous federal statutes.

The petition, originally filed on January 14, 2010, identifies pervasive and widespread use of triclosan and cites violations of numerous environmental statutes, including laws on pesticide registration, the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, according to Beyond Pesticides.

It also documents that triclosan is no more effective than regular soap and water in removing germs and therefore creates an unnecessary hazardous exposure for people and the environment.

Regulated by both EPA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, triclosan is commonly found in hand soaps, cosmetics, toothpastes, and deodorants.

The petition to EPA seeks expedited action to ban household triclosan, challenging serious deficiencies in EPA's September 2008 re-registration of triclosan and its failure to comply with safety laws.

Earlier this month, and following various studies on the use of the antibacterial agent triclosan in consumer products, including oral care, CosmeticsDesign.com USA reported on how experts are urging companies to remove it from their formulations as a precaution.

Elizabeth Salter Green, director of ChemTrust, a health and environmental body, explained that on a precautionary basis the chemical may not be safe to use at any level.

“It is important to stress that triclosan is not a dioxin, however concerns are that under certain circumstances it can develop the ability to disrupt hormones,” she told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

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