Tuesday, March 26, 2013
On March 4, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed an executive order that will phase out the use of triclosan in products that state agencies buy. As of June 2013, the agencies will no longer be allowed to purchase soap or other products that contain the antibacterial chemical. While state agencies won't have a choice about buying triclosan, consumers in Minnesota will still have to read their product labels.
Minnesota Senate Bill (SF 1166), which sought to prohibit the sale of personal care products, cosmetics, or cleaning products
containing triclosan, triclocarban, or similar antibacterial compounds, did not receive enough votes to make it out of the Senate Commerce Committee last week.
Recent research has added to concern over the health and environmental impacts that triclosan may have. Studies indicate that triclosan interferes with normal development and function of the brain and reproductive system, possibly resulting in altered behavior, learning disabilities, or infertility. After going through the wastewater treatment process and entering the environment, triclosan can also transform in the presence of sunlight into one of several different kinds of dioxins. This family of chemicals has been linked to cancer and hormone disruption.
Several manufactures, including Johnson & Johnson, have announced that they will remove triclosan from their products. Though many consumers have already altered their buying habits in response to the 2010 Food and Drug Administration advisement that products with triclosan are no more effective than washing with plain old-fashioned soap and water.
Photo courtesy of Anna McCartney, Pennsylvania Sea Grant