US Institute calls for EPA to reject triclosan ban

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hygiene, Bacteria

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) has urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject a call to ban triclosan from personal care and hygiene products, claiming the petition lacks merit and relevant evidence.

EPA published the petition from activist groups late last year in the Federal Register requesting a ban on the antimicrobial pesticide.

In formal comments to EPA, ACI noted that triclosan is a germ-killing ingredient in personal care and hand hygiene products, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, not the EPA.

Arguments for triclosan in personal care products

"These products play a beneficial role in the daily hygiene routines of millions of people throughout the US and worldwide,"​ said Richard Sedlak, ACI senior vice president of Technical and International Affairs.

"They have been and are used safely and effectively in homes, hospitals, and workplaces every single day.”

"Furthermore, triclosan and products containing it are regulated by a number of governmental bodies around the world and have a long track record of human and environmental safety which is supported by a multitude of scientifically based transparent risk analyses,"​ he added.

Petition states triclosan is no more effective

The petition 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.

It sought 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.

ACI has taken exception to the activist groups' request for EPA to ban triclosan, stating that EPA’s review of the ingredient in the 2008 regulatory decision that formally re-registered triclosan for its use in EPA-regulated products was a thorough and correct one.

ACI unhappy with petition’s ‘attack’

According to ACI, the petitioners' attacks on triclosan's safety and effectiveness rely on scientific bias, fail to present new relevant research that could impact EPA's findings, and appear to rely on an uninformed view of the established EPA re-registration process.

"In real world situations such as the home, food manufacturing, and industrial environments, there is no evidence that antimicrobials can select for antibiotic resistant bacteria,"​ continued Sedlak.

ACI reiterated that triclosan-containing antibacterial handwash products do provide a benefit compared to non-antibacterial hand wash products.

"Antibacterial hand washes provide a public health benefit by reducing or eliminating pathogenic bacteria on the skin to a significantly greater degree than plain soap and water. The bacterial reduction from hand washing is linked to reduced infection from pathogenic bacteria,"​ Sedlak concluded.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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