Triclosan, a chemical used as an antibacterial in soaps, hand sanitizers and other household products, has been associated with serious, long-term effects on human health and the environment. Triclosan has been shown in animal studies to disrupt the endocrine system, and other research has indicated that the chemical might help to create bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
Our triclosan injury lawyers are aggressively investigating the potential health problems associated with this chemical. Triclosan is found in scores of household products, and it has become almost impossible for consumers to avoid exposure to it. In addition to antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, triclosan is also found in toothpastes and mouthwashes, deodorants, cosmetics including hair products and lipsticks, household cleaners, plastics, and children’s toys – just to name a few. If you believe exposure to triclosan caused illness in yourself or a loved one, our triclosan injury lawyers want to hear from you today.
Triclosan has already been banned or restricted in other countries, including the European Union. In the U.S., however, regulatory agencies have failed to act on this serious public health threat. In 2005, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that antimicrobial soaps and sanitizers do not reduce the risk of illness and infection in the home, yet products made with triclosan remain on the market. Our triclosan injury lawyers are committed to making sure the manufacturers of triclosan-containing products are held accountable for any illnesses or injuries they have caused.
Triclosan was developed as a surgical scrub for medical professionals. But in recent years, it has been added to everything from soaps to clothing because of its antibacterial properties. Triclosan is so ubiquitous that it is found in the urine of 75 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The chemical has also been found in about 60 percent of U.S. streams.
Triclosan is a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals which is suspected of causing cancer in humans. While the companies that manufacture products containing triclosan claim that it is safe, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered it as a pesticide. The EPA gives triclosan high scores both as a human health risk and as an environmental risk.
Triclosan may be cancer-causing by itself and/or in combination with other substances. In combination with water, it can produce chloroform gas that when inhaled can cause liver problems, depression and cancer. It is suspected that sunlight can transform triclosan to dioxin naturally.
In the U.S., triclosan is regulated by the FDA, as well as the EPA and the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The FDA has been working for 38 years to establish the rules for the use of triclosan, but has yet to finish the job.
Push for Triclosan Restrictions
In April 2010, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, called for restrictions on triclosan after the FDA acknowledged to him that it was worried about the possible health risks of the chemical. In January, Markey had written to the FDA requesting information about the status of its ongoing review of triclosan in consumer products. He also sent a similar letter to the EPA. The responses from the agencies were less than reassuring.
In its response to Markey, the FDA acknowledged that current data “raise valid concerns” about the effects triclosan can have on humans exposed to it via repetitive daily use. The FDA also stated that it is “not aware of any evidence that antibacterial washes were superior to plain soap and water for reducing transmission of or preventing infection for consumers.
Because of concerns raised by recent studies, the FDA said it was engaged in an ongoing safety review of triclosan. The agency said its review would take about a year. It is also writing a proposed rule that could potentially limit use of triclosan in consumer products, but couldn’t say how soon the rule would be finished.
The EPA letter released by Markey noted that a review of the substance under the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) provided evidence of triclosan’s endocrine disrupting potential. However, the letter also noted that the EPA has no plans to re-evaluate its regulations surrounding the use of triclosan until 2013. Additionally, the agency acknowledged that it does not currently set drinking water standards for triclosan, and it does not consider antibiotic resistance as a factor when deciding which chemicals to monitor or regulate in drinking water.
The agencies’ responses prompted Markey to urge the federal government to prohibit the use of triclosan in soap, hand wash, products designed for children and those meant to come into contact with food. The representative also said he would introduce legislation requiring the EPA to accelerate its process for testing and regulating chemicals like triclosan.
Despite the fact that this chemical is found in everything from soaps to socks, there are many troubling questions about triclosan’s effectiveness and potentially harmful effects, especially for children,” said Markey. “There is clear evidence that many consumer products that contain it are no more effective than those that do not. However, triclosan continues to be used in products that saturate the marketplace. Consumers—especially parents—need to know that many of these products are not only ineffective, they may also be dangerous.
It is becoming clear that adding triclosan to consumer products offers no real benefit, and could pose a serious threat to public health. Manufacturers who continue to needlessly expose consumers to triclosan are being negligent. Our triclosan injury lawyers are committed to making sure these companies are held accountable.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Triclosan
If you or a loved one suffered due to a product containing triclosan, you may have valuable legal rights. To arrange for a free case evaluation, please contact one of our triclosan injury lawyers today by filling out our online form, or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).