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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…)

2 Responses to “It Takes a Lawsuit: FDA Sued over Triclosan”

  1. Hilda says:

    I have to say that I’m generally against triclosan in soap. But I would not want to give up Colgate Total, the only toothpaste I’m aware of that contains triclosan. I had ongoing problems w/ my gums that cleared up once this product was recommended to me.
    Triclosan should not be nearly as ubiquitous as it currently is — but it also should not be banned entirely.

  2. Tasha says:

    Very well written article!
    I am hopeful that this lawsuit will force the FDA to make the ruling in favor of banning or seriously restricting Triclosan’s use in personal care products. This chemical is proven harmful and new studies point to its hormone disrupting properties (the EU has banned or restricted its use in many products). Also Infection Control Today reports that human levels of Triclosan have increased by 50% since 2004! I’ve ditched the products which contain this chemical (if interested to find which products contain Triclosan read it here http://bebepure.com/toxic-bathroom/) and I hope that the FDA does the same.
    Thanks for writing about this!

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