07/29/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Washington, DC – The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit Tuesday, July 27, 2010 against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its failure to issue a final rule regulating the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban, two ingredients commonly found in “antibacterial” soap. According to the NRDC press release, these chemicals are suspected endocrine disruptors linked to developmental and reproductive harm in laboratory studies.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
According to Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist in the Health and Environment Program at NRDC, “Washing your hands with so-called antibacterial soap containing triclosan or triclocarban actually does nothing different than using regular soap and water. Using soap containing these chemicals does not provide an additional benefit as consumers might think, but instead actually comes with potential health risks…The FDA needs to prohibit these harmful chemicals from being put into productions in the first place.”
Soap products that display the terms “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” typically contain one of the two chemicals in question. The FDA first proposed to remove these chemicals from the products in 1978, based on the knowledge they were relatively ineffective and used on unregulated levels. The NRDC press release claims recent bio-monitoring results have found residues of triclosan in 75 percent of Americans over the age of six. Also, traces of the elements have been found in human blood, urine and breast milk.
Lab studies have found these chemicals to be endocrine-disruptors capable of interfering with development and reproduction hormones.
In April of this year, the FDA acknowledged soaps containing the chemicals offer no additional benefit over traditional soap and water. The organization also expressed concern over the development of antibiotic resistance from using antibacterial products. Despite the voiced concerns, the FDA did not move forward on any policy making though.
According to the NRDC press release, “Today’s lawsuit asks the court to impose a strict deadline for FDA to finalize the rule, which has been pending for 32 years. Under FDA’s current proposal, the rule would ban the continued use of triclosan and triclocarban in many antibacterial products.
The Natural Resources Defense Council hopes to ensure product safety and avoid unnecessary health risks by barring the chemicals from soaps.
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