NGO takes FDA to court over alleged lack of triclosan regulation

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bacteria, Fda

Triclosan and its presence in antibacterial handsoaps is being questioned by the National Resource Defence Council (NRDC) which is taking the FDA to court over the alleged lack of regulation of the ingredient.

The antimicrobial ingredient is used in a significant proportion of hand soaps and other personal care products, and this is not the first time it has been in the headlines.

According to the NRDC, the ingredient has suspected endocrine disrupting properties and may be contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance bacteria.

No tangible benefit in handsoaps

In addition, the organization claims that there is no tangible benefit in using the hand soaps containing the antimicrobial ingredient.

“Washing your hands with so-called antibacterial soap containing triclosan or triclocarbon actually does nothing different than using regular soap and water,”​ said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist in the Health and Environment Programme at NRDC.

Earlier this year, FDA issued a statement affirming that there was little evidence to suggest a health benefit from using anti-bacterial soap when compared to regular soap.

However, the regulatory agency did say there was evidence to suggest the ingredient does have a positive effect in some instances, particularly in certain oral care products.

When it issued these statements in April, the FDA was engaged in an ongoing scientific review of the ingredient and said that at that time it did not have sufficient evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan.

NRDC takes issue with the fact that the FDA ‘did not move ahead on the rule making’.

According to the organization, the FDA has been looking at proposing a rule to ban these products from soap since 1978.

“Three decades of delay is outrageous. FDA needs to issue a final rule on triclosan and triclocarbon now, and that rule should ban both chemicals in hand soaps,”​ said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the NRDC.

The lawsuit filed by the organization asks the court to impose a strict deadline for FDA to finalize the triclosan ruling.

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