EcoWaste Coalition Backs Senate Inquiry on Antimicrobial Chemicals

A proposal by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago for a Senate inquiry on antimicrobial chemical ingredients used in soaps and a wide range of consumer products has won the backing of a non-governmental toxic watchdog.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network promoting consumer awareness and vigilance against toxic chemicals, threw its support behind Senate Resolution 327 that Sen. Santiago introduced recently.

In calling for “an inquiry in aid of legislation,” Sen. Santiago cited “recent scientific findings (indicating) that the antimicrobial compounds triclosan and triclocarban are hazardous to health and the environment.”

“We ask our Senators to act on Sen. Santiago’s proposal in light of new evidence showing that the rampant use of pesticides and biocides such as triclosan in consumer products leads to adverse health and environmental problems,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“While we await the Senate inquiry, we remind consumers to get informed, read the product labels, take precaution and shop with utmost care,” he said.

The EcoWaste Coalition noted that public interest groups in US led by Beyond Pesticides and the Food & Water Watch have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban triclosan to protect the consumers, workers and the ecosystems. Through the Federal Register, the EPA has given the public until February 7, 2011 to comment on the need to ban triclosan.

Triclosan and triclocarban are antimicrobial chemicals added to personal and household products to prevent the growth of bacteria, viruses, fungi and mildew, and also to deodorize.

These anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents are found in body and hand soaps, deodorants, detergents, fabric softeners, toothpastes and other products such as fabrics, facial tissues, kitchenware, medical devices, plastics and toys.

A market survey on February 4-5, 2011 by the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patrol found dozens of products containing either triclosan, triclocarban or trichlorocarbanilide, as written in the labels, that are being sold in drug stores, supermarkets and specialty discount shops.

To justify the proposed Senate inquiry, Sen. Santiago cited the study by Arizona State University Assoc. Prof. Rolf Halden and his team of researchers showing that “triclosan and triclocarban first aggregate in wastewater sludge and are transferred to soils and natural water environments where they were observed to persist for months or years.”

The same study showed that “the accumulation of these antimicrobials in the environment is exerting selective pressure on microorganisms exposed to them, thereby increasing the likelihood that a super-bug, resistant to the very antimicrobials developed to kill them, will emerge — with potentially dire consequences for human health.”

Another study by researchers at the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety found that the “widespread use of triclosan may represent a potential public health risk in regard to development of concomitant resistance to clinically important antimicrobials,” reported the EcoWaste Coalition.

Also, the “National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that 75% of Americans have triclosan in their bodies and its levels are said to be increasing, noted the Coalition.

Across the globe, countries, including Canada, Japan and the 27-country European Union, have adopted policies to restrict human exposure to triclosan, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.

Based on the EcoWaste Coalition’s market survey, some of the products being sold in local retail shops that contain triclosan, triclocarban or trichlorocarbanilide, as shown in the labels, include the following:

BATH SOAP/WASH: Bioderm Whitening Germicidal Soap, Dial for Men Soap, Green Cross Germ Protection Soap, Jergen’s Anti-Bacterial Liquid Soap, Maxi Peel Exfoliant Soap, Personal Care Anti-Bacterial Soap, Pure Aid Anti-Bacterial Deodorant Soap, Pure Aid White Anti-Bacterial Beauty Soap, Pure Spring Soap, Safeguard Soap, Vaseline 2 in 1 Healthy Body Wash and Vaseline 2 in 1 Healthy Skin Soap.

HAND SOAP/WASH: Body Treats Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap, Med Guard Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap, Protect and Clean Anti-Bacterial Handwash, Sure Buy Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap and Watsons Anti-Bacterial Moisturizers Hand Soap.

TOOTHPASTE: Colgate Total Professional Clean Toothpaste, Colgate Total Professional Sensitive Toothpaste, Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste, Hapee Gumtect Advance Toothpaste, Hapee Gumtect Gold Toothpaste, Hapee Compete Toothpaste plus Whitening, Hapee Night Mint Tooth Paste plus Whitening, and Unique Gel Toothpaste.



Proposed Senate Resolution 327 on Triclosan and Triclocarban:

Triclosan Fact Sheet:

Information re Assoc. Prof. Rolf Halden Study:

US EPA’s Call for Public Comments re Petition to Ban Triclosan: