The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) isn’t going to take it anymore.
The environmental action group today filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for, “failing to issue a final rule regulating the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban, which are commonly found in antibacterial soaps.”
I’ve written about the topic many times before, but I’ll catch you up again. Triclosan or triclocarbon is the active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps. (You can also find it in a ton of other consumer products such as toothpaste, clothing, toys and furniture, among other items.) Scientists have linked the stuff to a number of different problems. Animal studies show triclosan is a hormone disruptor, changing the way our bodies work. From the NRDC’s press release: “…hormonal interference has the potential to cause long-term health problems including poor sperm quality and infertility, and damage to the developing brain leading to poor learning and memory. Several studies suggest that triclosan and triclocarban also may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.” There’s more in a wonderful NRDC fact sheet. Take a look.
Earlier this year the FDA agreed, saying triclosan studies to date raise “valid concern” about the chemical. At the time, the FDA promised a ruling on the chemical “this spring.” Ummm…the spring has sprung, folks. It’s summer, with fall fast approaching. Which is why the NRDC has filed this lawsuit. It wants the FDA to act now to protect us and our kids. In fact, the NRDC wants to ban the use of triclosan completely.
The sad thing is, triclosan is no more effective at preventing illness and killing germs than plain old soap and water. (Yup, the FDA agrees on that point, too. Check out the What Consumers Should Know section.) So what’s the take-away? Don’t buy anything with triclosan. If you’re worried about your handwashing skills, buy Purell or another alcohol-based hand sanitizer. And keep your fingers crossed that a lawsuit gets the FDA to make the ruling it should have made several months ago.
Do you look out for triclosan when shopping? Are you worried about its effects? (And hey, did you know BPA can be found at high levels on cash register receipts??? So says the Environmental Working Group…)