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.”