28 July 2017

EcoWaste Coalition: Habagat Floods Made Worse by Garbage Dumping

The inundation of some streets in Metro Manila yesterday due to the heavy rains has again bared our cities’ chronic battle with reckless waste disposal.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, deplored the remorseless dumping of garbage in the streets and waterways for aggravating the floods triggered by Habagat (southwest) monsoon rains and enhanced by tropical storm “Gorio.”

“The rainwater will not drain fast enough to Pasig River and its tributaries if the storm drains and creeks are clogged with trash,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp the need to keep the waterways free of rubbish and debris to allow the water to freely flow and minimize flooding, but many have yet to realize what we recklessly throw on the ground or estero will come back to haunt and harm us,” he noted.    

“Waste and sanitation workers often have to use excavating equipment to remove truckloads of trash from our clogged waterways,” he said.

Alejandre cited data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) showing that some 757 truckloads of trash and silt, or about 5,250 cubic meters, were removed from various waterways from March 1 to May 17, 2017 as part of the agency’s yearly Estero Blitz program.  

“Discarded plastic bags, packaging  items, diapers, clothes, tsinelas and other waste materials hinder the efficient operation of MMDA’s pumping stations, which pump floodwaters from the esteros,” he emphasized.  

“Flood pumping stations cannot mitigate flood events if these are blocked with trash,” he added.

To help in averting floods,  the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the public to break the filthy habit of throwing garbage in the streets and waterways, and to embrace the 5Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink and respect) instead.

The group exhorted the public, especially the households, to segregate their discards at source to facilitate the reusing, recycling and composting of waste materials in line with Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The group likewise urged the local authorities, particularly the city and municipal mayors and the barangay captains, to actively implement R.A. 9003 within their areas of jurisdiction and to use the full force of the law to ensure compliance.

The honest-to-goodness enforcement of R.A. 9003 will reduce the volume and toxicity of garbage, cut hauling costs, control environmental pollution, conserve resources, prevent spillage of plastic litter to the oceans, and create sustainable jobs and livelihoods, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Based on the estimates of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the country generates 40,087 tons of trash daily, of which 9,213 tons come from Metro Manila’s 17 local government units.



http://www.mmda.gov.ph/44-news /news-2017/2503-mmda-collects- over-750-truckloads-of-garbage -silt-from-metro-manila- waterways ault3.aspx

27 July 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Flags Choking and Fire Hazards from Popular but Unauthorized Hand Spinners

Assorted hand spinners, also known as fidget spinners, being sold by a street vendor along Recto Avenue in Divisoria, Manila. (Photo by EcoWaste Coalition)

As the price of fidget spinners drops from over P100 to as low as P20 in Divisoria, a health and environmental watch group was quick to warn the public against the potential harm from using toys that have not passed quality and safety procedures. 

The non-profit EcoWaste Coalition issued the precautionary warning after choking and fire incidents were reported in US, and after Latvia and Luxembourg banned the marketing of certain hand spinners for non-compliance to the European Union’s Toy Safety Directive.

“The big drop in prices will attract more consumers to buy fidget or hand spinners for their young ones to play with.  Unfortunately, most of these toys lack the required market authorization from the country’s toy regulator,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Republic Act 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009, prohibits, among other things, the sale of toy and childcare article (TCCA) products without the proper authorization in the form of TCCA Notifications.

“We searched the FDA website and found that only one company has market authorization for hand spinners for children above three years old.   This means that hand spinners being sold by sidewalk vendors and other informal retailers, including those being offered online, have not gone through the FDA’s verification process so their quality and safety cannot be assured,” Dizon said.

“We remind parents to be extra careful when buying popular hand spinners as their popularity does not necessarily mean that these toys are harmless.  Please choose age-appropriate toys for your kids that pose no choking, chemical and other safety hazards,” he added.  

In Latvia and Luxembourg, fidget spinners with battery-powered LED modules were rejected at the border, banned, withdrawn from the market or recalled from end users because of choking hazard as 
“the battery compartments can easily be opened without the use of any tools and the button cells inside are easily accessible.” 

“Children might put them in the mouth and swallow them, causing damage to their gastrointestinal tract,” toy authorities warned.

In US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating reports from Texas and Oregon of children choking and being rushed to the hospital due to the ingestion of small parts of fidget spinners.

Last May, a 10-year old girl from Texas was taken to surgery to endoscopically find and remove one of the bearings of her fidget spinner that she accidentally swallowed and got stuck in her esophagus.
The CPSC is also investigating cases of electronic fidget spinners bursting into flames while charging.



Company with TCCA Notification for Hand Spinner Toy:

To read the “Public Health Warning Against the Use of Toys and Childcare Articles (TCCA) Products With No FDA Certificate of Product Notification,” please see:


25 July 2017

Illegal Sale of Mercury-Laden Skin Whitening Creams Persists, Toxics Watch Group Warns

The illegal sale of imported skin whitening products containing mercury, a potent poison, remains a threat to human health and the environment, a watch group on toxic chemicals warned on Tuesday.

The EcoWaste Coalition renewed its warning against mercury in unregistered facial whitening and freckle removing creams after finding the substance in 10 imported products above the regulatory limit of one part per million (ppm). 

One of the products,  Yu Dan Tang Ginseng & Green Cucumber 10-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle Spot & Double Whitening Sun Block Cream from Taiwan, was found to contain mercury 38,900 times beyond the allowable limit of 1 ppm. 

“The smuggling of mercury-laden skin whitening cosmetics persists despite the combined efforts by the government and the civil society to expose and stop such illegal trade,” observed Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“The persistence of the problem underscores an urgent need for the Duterte administration to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which, among other things, bans the production, export and import of skin lightening cosmetics with mercury above 1 ppm,” he emphasized.

“Ratifying the treaty that the Philippines signed in 2013 could pave the way for strengthened policies, expanded programs and increased collaborations to protect the people's health and the environment from mercury emissions and releases. We are one with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in pushing for the treaty ratification," he said.

“Reducing, if not removing, mercury in products such as cosmetics, batteries, fluorescent lamps, medical devices, antiseptics and others, will help in lessening mercury in waste,” he pointed out, adding that “it is important to ensure sound waste management, including safe storage and disposal, to avoid mercury-containing products from contaminating humans such as waste workers and the surroundings.”

To raise consumer awareness about the hazards of mercury in cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition purchased 13 different skin whitening creams costing P60 to P300 each in Divisoria and Quiapo, Manila on July 22 and 23, and screened them for mercury using an X-Ray Fluorescence device.  

Among the 10 products found to contain excessive concentrations of mercury were:  

Yu Dan Tang Ginseng & Green Cucumber 10-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle Spot & Double Whitening Sun Block Cream (with  38,900 ppm), Parley Herbal Beauty Cream (20,500 ppm), Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream (11,700 ppm), Golden Pearl  Beauty Cream (9,434 ppm), Erna Whitening Cream (4,531 ppm), Jiaoli Miraculous Cream (2,766 ppm), S’Zitang 10-Day Whitening & Spot Day Night Set (2,710 ppm),  S’Zitang 7-Day Specific Whitening & Spot AB Set (2,640 ppm), Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set (2,184 ppm), and Temulawak Day & Night Beauty Whitening Cream (1,128 ppm).

While negative for mercury as per XRF screening, Aichun Beauty Carrot Natural Whitening Anti-Spot Cream,  Aichun Beauty Honey Natural Whitening Anti-Spot Cream, and White Glow Whitening Day & Night Cream are still illegal to sell because these items lack the required Cosmetic Product Notifications (CPNs) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just like the other 10 products.

From 2010 to date, the FDA has banned over 135 mercury-containing and unnotified skin whitening products, 80 of which were discovered by the EcoWaste Coalition through its periodic market surveillance and product analysis.

Aichun Beauty Carrot Natural Whitening Anti-Spot Cream, Aichun Beauty Honey Natural Whitening Anti-Spot Cream, Parley Herbal Beauty Cream, Temulawak Day & Night Cream, and White Glow Day & Night Cream are not yet included in the FDA's banned product list.

Exposure to mercury can have serious health consequences, including kidney damage, skin rashes, discoloration and scarring, reduced skin resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy, according to the World Health Organization.






24 July 2017

What the EcoWaste Coalition Would Like to Hear from President Duterte's Second State of the Nation Address (SONA)

Advocates for ecological solutions to the country’s waste and pollution woes will pay close attention to what President Rodrigo Duterte will say in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) today.

Last year, the presidential pronouncement in his first SONA that seemingly favored waste-to-energy (WtE ) disposal technologies has left environmentalists worried as not all WtE technologies are safe, legal and socially acceptable. 

“We hope that the President this time around will rally the mayors and the entire nation to intensify waste segregation at source, recycling, composting and other waste prevention and reduction strategies in sync with Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group recalled that President Duterte in July 2016 remarked “the Philippines is so dirty, the mayors are not doing anything.  There is trash and garbage around.”

“It’s time for the President to give strong marching orders to the National Solid Waste Management Commission and the local government units (LGUs) to enforce R.A. 9003 to the fullest sans the polluting practices of open dumping, open burning and waste incineration and without corruption,” she said.

“We are also hoping that the President will weigh in on the growing plastic waste crisis and ask Congress to speed up the enactment of a national legislation banning single-use plastic bags, as well as other plastic pollution prevention measures such as the ban on microplastics in personal care and cosmetic products,” she added.

While recognizing the efforts of the government, particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Health in promoting the sound management of chemicals, the EcoWaste Coalition urged President Duterte to declare his support for the expedited promulgation of progressive chemicals policies.

In particular, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the President to declare his intent to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury before the first Conference of Parties in late September this year in Geneva, Switzerland. 

“While the Philippines is already carrying out mercury pollution prevention and control programs and measures, our country has yet to ratify the treaty that the previous administration signed in 2013,” Lucero said.

“We hope that the mercury treaty ratification will be a top priority for the President in order to protect our people and the environment from this major global pollutant,” she added.

The group also sought the hastened completion of the chemical control orders on arsenic, hexavalent chromium and related draft regulations on priority chemicals of concern, including electronic waste.

Finally, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that the President will see to it that the illegal trash shipments from Canada will be returned to its origin as ordered by the court in June last year.


22 July 2017

Toxics Watchdog Urges QC Government to Enforce Ordinance Banning Illegal Sale of Poisonous Oxalic Acid

The EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group on toxic chemicals and wastes, asked the local government, health and police authorities of Quezon City to clamp down on the illegal sale of oxalic acid, a poisonous bleaching and cleaning compound.

The group called for immediate law enforcement action following the tragic death of a graduating student from the University of the Philippines due to the ingestion of oxalic acid.

Fifth year B.S. Physics student Daniel Paningbatan, 21 years old succumbed last July 19 after ingesting the poisonous substance at the family residence in Barangay Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident and we commiserate with Daniel's loving parents Dante and Elvira and others he left behind,"said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, Project Protect, EcoWaste Coalition, who visited the victim's wake yesterday.

“This incident should prompt the Quezon City Government to take decisive steps to ensure full compliance to Ordinance 2448,” he said.

The said ordinance, enacted on September 21, 2015, “prohibits the selling of oxalic acid by sari-sari stores, market vendors, sidewalk vendors, and other establishments located within the territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City except in authorized retail outlets or business establishments.”

The EcoWaste Coalition pushed for the adoption of the ordinance in the aftermath of deadly oxalic acid poisoning cases in 2015 that killed milk tea shop owner William Abrigo and customer Suzaine Dagohoy,, and couple Jose Maria and Juliet Escano.

After learning about Paningbatan's death, the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patrol went to the Commonwealth Market to do a quick investigation to determine if oxalic acid is sold illegally.  

As witnessed by the group, sidewalk vendors sell repacked oxalic acid in small clear plastic packets with zero product information or warning.   The group was able to buy 30 small packets of oxalic acid for just P10.

Inside the Commonwealth Market, a stall vendor sells repacked oxalic acid for P20 for ¼ kilo.
“As the sale of oxalic acid by sidewalk and market vendors is prohibited by the ordinance, we ask the authorities to hold those behind the illegal sale of this poisonous substance liable,” Dizon said.

Introduced by Councilor Dorothy Delarmente and co-introduced by 34 councilors, the ordinance provides for a fine of P5,000, or imprisonment of not less than one month but not exceeding three months, or both, to violators.

In addition, if the violator is a business entity registered with the Quezon City Government, the business permit of the said entity shall be automatically cancelled.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oxalic acid is colorless crystals or white powder that can be absorbed into the body by inhalation of its aerosol and by ingestion.

The CDA warned that “the substance is corrosive to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract and exposure above the occupational exposure limits may result in death.”


http://qcpl-lawresearch-center.blogspot.com/2016/01/ordinance-nosp-2448-s-2015-regulating. html
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsn eng/neng0529.html
http://www.abante-tonite.com/s tudent-lumaklak-ng-asido.htm

21 July 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Urges the Government to Tighten Rules on Plastic Trash Imports

The looming ban on the importation of plastic trash in China provides a compelling reason for the Philippines to take strong measures that will prevent the banned imports from being diverted into our ports.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, urged concerned officials from the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Trade and Industry and Finance and the Bureau of Customs to take their cue from China and consider banning the entry of scrap plastics  to the Philippines. 

“We have a serious plastic waste problem that is spilling to the seas and oceans.  We need not exacerbate the situation any further by importing scrap plastics in the guise of recycling,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The illegally imported mixed garbage from Canada misrepresented as recyclable scrap plastics, which are still in our territory, offers a dire lesson in the perilous global waste trade,” she said.

A government-sponsored waste characterization study showed that 63.94% of the unlawful Canadian trash imports were residuals not suitable for recycling and should be properly disposed of.  

“Barring the importation of plastic garbage should form part of the government’s efforts to improve existing regulations to avoid a repeat of the Canadian garbage saga,” she said.

“Imposing an import ban on scrap plastics may even prompt our industries to seek ways to retrieve locally-generated plastic discards,” she added, “which can help in reducing the amount of plastics leaking to water bodies,” she added.

“Domestic industries requiring scrap plastics as production inputs should source their supplies locally,” she suggested.

Additionally, the group stressed the need for industries to embrace waste and pollution prevention strategies, including product redesign for the environment, toxics use reduction and zero waste resource management, to cut, if not eliminate, the generation of wastes and pollutants.

Last July 18, the Government of China notified the World Trade Organization that it will prohibit the importation of scrap plastics by the end of December this year “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.” 

According to the notification sent by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to the WTO, “large amounts of dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes are mixed in the solid waste that can be used as raw materials… pollut(ing) the environment seriously.”

“To protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health, we urgently adjust the imported solid waste list, and forbid the import of solid wastes that are highly polluted,” the notification said.

The import ban will apply to waste, parings and scrap of ethylene (HS Code: 3915100000), styrene (HS Code: 3915200000), vinyl chloride (HS Code: 3915300000), propylene (HS Code: 3915901000), and other plastics (HS Code: 3915909000).

Data released by International Scrap Recycling Industries in April 2017 showed that China imported over 7.3 million metric tons of scrap plastics in 2015, valued at $3.7 billion.


http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20170718/NEWS/170719892/ china-to-wto-scrap-plastic-imp orts-banned-by-year-end
http://www.recyclingtoday.com/ article/china-mixed-paper-plas tic-scrap-recycling-ban-2017/

12 July 2017

Drive for “Healthy Baon for Healthy Kids” Gains Ground in QC School (“Healthy Baon” contributes to waste reduction too, says group)

To commemorate this year’s Nutrition Month, an environmental watch group has teamed up with a public school to campaign for nutritious and waste-free snacks and lunches.

Through a joint activity held today, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Sto. Cristo Elementary School (Quezon City) promoted healthy meals that can help students go, grow and glow without denting the family budget.

With a banner that says "Nutritious Food, Healthy Kids, Zero Waste School" as backdrop, teachers and environmentalists drew attention to nourishing food and beverage choices in line with a recently-issued policy by the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Healthy diets at home and school will help our nation in curbing the number of overweight and obese among kids and adults, as well as preventing non-communicable diseases.  It will also help in reducing the volume of garbage knowing that unhealthy foods are mostly packaged in plastic and other single-use materials, which are hardly recycled or reused,” stated Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Our activity, we hope, will encourage schools to regulate the sale of foods and drinks in school canteens, while encouraging parents and their kids to go for healthy and waste-free baon that are low in fat, sugar or salt,” he added.

The group said that five percent of Filipino children (aged five to 10) and 31 percent of adults (aged 20 and above) are overweight and obese, while the national waste generation is estimated at 40,087 tons per day as per data from the Food Nutrition and Research Institute and the National Solid Waste Management Commission.

To hammer home their advocacy for healthy diets, SCES teachers prepared brown rice-based baon ideas such as pancakes, spring rolls, champorado bar, croquetas, spaghetti, and vegetable-rich viands such as malunggay-veggie mix, malunggay veggie patties, pinakbet, and dilis and kangkong embutido.   

Kitchen discards such as vegetable and fruit peelings were then brought to the school’s composting pit.

Also, the event saw students reciting the “10 Kumainments,” the popular version of the revised Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF).

According to the National Nutrition Council, “a healthy diet is able to satisfy one’s energy and nutrient needs for proper body functions, growth and development, daily activities and maintenance of health, keeping well within one’s caloric needs.”

On the other hand, “an unhealthy diet is composed of foods that are energy-dense yet nutrient poor and are high in saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates or sodium,” stated the NCC, the lead organizer for the Nutrition Month.  

DepEd Department Order No. 13, Series of 2017 provides for the “Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and in DepEd Offices” by making available healthy, nutritious and affordable menu choices, and for setting food standards.

It identifies healthier food and beverage choices and introduces a system of categorizing locally available foods and drinks in green, yellow and red categories.

Items included in the green category should always be available in school canteens; those in the yellow category should be served carefully; and those in the red cateogry are not recommended in canteen menu.

Foods and drinks in the green category include unsweetened milk, safe and clean water, fresh buko water, rice, corn, whole wheat bread, cassava, boiled sweet potato, boiled saba, boiled peanuts, suman, puto, fishes, shellfish, small shrimps, lean meats, chicken without skin, nuts, eggs and fresh fruits in season.

Foods and drinks in the yellow category include 100% fresh fruit juices, fried rice, bread, biscuits, banana cue, camote cue, turon, maruya, pancakes, waffles, champorado, pancit, arroz caldo, sandwiches, processed foods (subject to evaluation of saturated or trans fat and sodium content), stir-fried vegetables       

Foods and drinks in the red category include soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, sports waters, sports drinks, flavored mineral water, energy drinks, sweetened waters, powdered juice drinks, any products containing caffeine, any processed fruit/vegetable juice with added sugar of more than 20 grams or 4 teaspoons per serving, any jelly, ice crushes and slushies, any ice cream, ice drops and ice candies, cakes and slices, donuts, sweet biscuits and pastries, chocolates, hard/chewy candies, chewing gums, marshmallows, lollipops, yema, French fries, bicho-bicho, instant noodles, all types of heavily salted snacks such as chips or chichiria, chicharon, chicken skin, bacon, deep-friend foods including fish balls and kikiams, canned fruits in heavy syrup, sweetened fruits, deep-fried vegetables.



03 July 2017

EcoWaste Coalition Urges Filipinos to Break the Plastic Bag Habit

As the International Plastic Bag Free Day is observed today, a waste and pollution watch group asked Filipinos from all walks of life to kick the plastic bag habit for a trash-free land and marine environment.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a member of the global “Break Free from Plastic” movement, directed its appeal for action against the omnipresent plastic bags to consumers, commercial establishments, schools, local governments and the national legislature.

“Plastic waste prevention and the genuine enforcement of best practices in ecological solid waste management sans incineration and open burning is the way to go to tackle the plastic scourge that has now become a global malady,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We can reduce the amount of plastic garbage dumped into the oceans by taking decisive measures at various levels from voluntary lifestyle option as responsible consumers to mandatory legislation banning single-use plastic bags,” he added.

Consumers should bring bayong and other reusable bags for their purchases to reduce the volume of plastics burned in dumpsites or thrown in waterways eventually ending up and polluting our rivers and seas, the group suggested.

Commercial establishments like shopping centers should initiate mall-wide programs to encourage retail shops, restaurants and other tenants to offer incentives for customers who will bring their own reusable containers and halt the practice of handing out free plastic or paper bags, according to the group. 

The group added that public and private schools should restrict the use of plastic bags, as well as other non-essential plastic products such as drinking straws, inside the school premises.

Local government units (LGUs) with existing plastic bag bans should strengthen the implementation of existing regulations, while those lagging behind should quickly adopt effective ordinances, the group pointed out.

“It’s high time for Congress to enact a comprehensive legislation that will ban single-use plastic bags to expand and support the initiatives of the local authorities to deal with the plastic mess,” Alejandre said.

All LGUs also need to fully enforce the waste prevention and reduction provisions of Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resouces and the National Solid Waste Management Commission should take the lead in implementing policies and programs in support of UNEA Resolution 2/11, the group further said.

UNEA, or the United Nations Environmental Assembly, in 2016 adopted a resolution on marine plastic litter and microplastics “stressing that prevention and environmentally sound management of waste is key to long-term success in combating marine pollution” and “calling on member states to establish and implement necessary policies, regulatory frameworks and measures consistent with the waste hierarchy.”

Waste audits conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace and Mother Earth Foundation in Manila Bay indicated alarming quantities of plastic litter, particularly in the famed Manila Bay.

In July 2016, for instance, a waste audit conducted by EcoWaste Coalition’s partner groups at Freedom Island in ParaƱaque City collected 1,482 kilos of trash, 79 percent of which were assorted plastic materials,  consisting of junk food wrappers and sachets (20 percent), plastic bags (17 percent), composite packaging (12 percent), food packaging (9 percent), polystyrene containers (7 percent), diaper liners (7 percent), hard plastics (4 percent), drinking straw 1 (percent) and plastic twine (1 percent).


https://www.plasticbagfreeday. org/
https://www.informea.org/en/de cision/marine-plastic-litter- and-microplastics#decision- body-field

01 July 2017

Group Pushes for Phase-Out of Triclosan and Triclocarban in Personal Care and Cosmetic Products

After calling on consumers to skip soaps and washes containing triclosan and triclocarban, a watch group on harmful chemicals is now training its gun on manufacturers of personal care and cosmetic products (PCCPs) that are still using these antibacterial substances.

“We call upon the manufacturers of PCCPs to cease from using triclosan and triclocarban in product formulations after scientists reached a consensus that these substances are environmentally persistent endocrine disrupting chemicals that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to marine organisms,” said Rene Pineda,  Representative, EcoWaste Coalition.  

“We likewise exhort our policy makers not to miss the writing on the wall and take precautionary action now to safeguard the public health, especially the health of pregnant women, developing fetuses and breastfeeding babies.  It is our common responsibility to prevent further human and environmental exposures to triclosan and triclocarban,” he added.

The group had earlier urged consumers through a press briefing with visiting expert Dr. Ann Blake last May 30 to shun soap and wash products with triclosan and triclocarban ahead of the US-wide ban on such products beginning September 6, 2017.  

Triclosan and triclocarban are among the 19 antibacterials being banned by the US Food and Drug Administration “because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.”

The EcoWaste Coalition cited the historic statement by over 200 scientists and medical professionals  published in the June 20 issue of the Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a monthly peer-reviewed journal of research and news published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services of US.

Dubbed as the “Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban,” the statement documents a consensus of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals on the hazards of and lack of demonstrated benefit from common uses of triclosan and triclocarban.  

The signatories called upon “the international community to limit the production and use of triclosan and triclocarban and to question the use of other antimicrobials.”

Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, the statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms. 

According to the statement:

---“Triclosan and triclocarban are used as antimicrobials, a class of chemicals present in >2,000 products.   In personal care products like hand soap, there is no evidence that use of triclosan or triclocarban improves consumer or patient health or prevents disease.”

---“Triclosan and triclocarban used in consumer products end up in the environment and have been detected in a wide variety of matrices worldwide.”

---“Triclosan and triclocarban persist in the environment and are a source of toxic and carcinogenic compounds including dioxins, chloroform, and chlorinated anilines.”

---“Triclosan, triclocarban, and their transformation products and byproducts bioaccumulate in aquatic plants and animals, and triclosan partitions into human blood and breast milk.”

---“Triclosan and triclocarban have detrimental effects on aquatic organisms.”

---“Humans are exposed to triclosan and triclocarban through direct contact with personal care products  and from other sources including food, drinking water, and dust.” 

---“Triclosan and triclocarban are endocrine disruptors and are associated with reproductive and developmental impacts in animal and in vitro studies.”

---“Human epidemiology and animal studies suggest triclosan exposure can increase sensitivity to allergens.”

---“Overuse of triclosan may contribute to antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance and may modify the microbiome.”

---“A number of authorities, including the US FDA, have restricted the use of triclosan and triclocarban in certain types of soaps. These and other antimicrobial chemicals are generally not restricted from use in other products.”

The Florence Statement lists several recommendations to prevent harm from triclosan, triclocarban and other antimicrobial substances with similar properties and effects.  These include:

---“Avoid the use of triclosan, triclocarban, and other antimicrobial chemicals except where they provide an evidence-based health benefit (e.g., physician-prescribed toothpaste for treating gum disease) and there is adequate evidence demonstrating they are safe.”

---“Where antimicrobials are necessary, use safer alternatives that are not persistent and pose no risk to humans or ecosystems.”

---“Label all products containing triclosan, triclocarban, and other antimicrobials, even in cases where no

health claims are made.”

---“Evaluate the safety of antimicrobials and their transformation products throughout the entire product life cycle, including manufacture, long-term use, disposal, and environmental release.”