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Decades-Old Question: Is Anti-Bacterial Soap Safe?

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FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Yao said evaluating triclosan and other anti-bacterial agents is “one of the highest priorities” for the agency, but did not offer an explanation for the delay.

The FDA’s website currently states that “the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.”

The American Cleaning Institute, a soap and detergent trade organization, says it has provided reams of data to FDA showing that triclosan is both safe and effective.

“Triclosan is one of the most reviewed and researched ingredients used in consumer and health care products,” says Brian Sansoni, a spokesman for the group, whose members include Colgate-Palmolive and Henkel Consumer Goods Inc., maker of Dial soap.

While it can take years for the government to make rules, members of Congress say there is little precedent for the FDA’s four-decade review of triclosan.

“When FDA first started evaluating the rules governing triclosan’s use, Richard Nixon was still president,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, who asked the FDA to take a closer look at triclosan in 2010 after the European Union banned the chemical from products that come into contact with food.

U.S. scientists agree that the FDA’s review is overdue. The Endocrine Society, a group of doctors and scientists who specialize in the hormone system, flagged triclosan four years ago as an ingredient that alters levels of thyroid hormones and reproductive hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

“I think the FDA is behind the curb,” said Dr. Andrea Gore of the University of Texas at Austin, who was the lead author of the Endocrine Society’s statement on hormone disrupting chemicals. “At what point do you draw a line and say we need to take this out of products that are being applied to our skin? What is enough evidence?”

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Jun 1st, 2013 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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