EPA Should Reject Petition to Ban Key Antibacterial Chemical, Says ACI

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2011 – The Environmental Protection Agency should summarily reject a petition by activist groups to ban an important antibacterial chemical, as the petition is deficient, lacks merit and uniformly fails to provide relevant evidence, according to the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI, formerly The Soap and Detergent Association).

In formal comments to EPA, ACI noted that triclosan is a germ-killing ingredient in personal care and hand hygiene products, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, not the EPA.

“These products play a beneficial role in the daily hygiene routines of millions of people throughout the U.S. and worldwide,” wrote Richard Sedlak, ACI Senior Vice President of Technical and International Affairs.  “They have been and are used safely and effectively in homes, hospitals, and workplaces every single day.

“Furthermore, triclosan and products containing it are regulated by a number of governmental bodies around the world and have a long track record of human and environmental safety which is supported by a multitude of scientifically based transparent risk analyses.”
ACI took exception to the activist groups’ request for EPA to ban triclosan, stating that Agency completed a very thorough review of the ingredient in a 2008 regulatory decision that formally re-registered triclosan for its use in EPA-regulated products.
The petitioners’ attacks on triclosan’s safety and effectiveness rely on scientific bias, fail to present new relevant research that could impact EPA’s findings, and appear to rely on an uninformed view of the established EPA re-registration process, according to ACI.
The Institute’s comments summarize science-based research and data that show triclosan is safe for use in regulated hygiene products, does not cause significant risks or harm to human health and the environment, and does not contribute to bacterial resistance.
“In real world situations such as the home, food manufacturing, and industrial environments, there is no evidence that antimicrobials can select for antibiotic resistant bacteria,” wrote ACI’s Sedlak.
ACI reiterated that triclosan-containing antibacterial handwash products provide a benefit compared to non-antibacterial hand wash products.
“Antibacterial hand washes provide a public health benefit by reducing or eliminating pathogenic bacteria on the skin to a significantly greater degree than plain soap and water. The bacterial reduction from hand washing is linked to reduced infection from pathogenic bacteria.”

ACI’s full comments will be available online at www.cleaninginstitute.org/science_and_policy/antibacterial_news.aspx.