Procter & Gamble, Rubbermaid, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, and Other Manufacturers Urged to Remove Anti-Microbial Chemical Found in Many Products
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, today released letters written to thirteen major manufacturers urging them to voluntarily stop using triclosan—a common substance estimated to be in approximately 50% of all consumer soaps as well as a wide variety of other consumer products—including some marketed specifically for children. Markey sent the letters one week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer advisory about the use of the chemical, stating that “triclosan added to soaps and body washes provide no more health benefits than plain soap and water” — and one week after Markey called on the federal government to ban the chemical in consumer soaps, products intended to come into contact with food, and products marketed to children.

I’m calling on the companies that use this chemical to voluntarily remove it from products marketed specifically for children, consumer soaps, and products that will come into contact with food” said Chairman Markey. “There are simply too many troubling questions about triclosan’s effectiveness and potentially harmful effects, for these products to remain in everyday use. I hope that these companies will exercise good corporate citizenship and agree to remove this potentially dangerous chemical from their products.”
In the letters, Markey highlights actions taken by several other countries, including the European Union, to ban or restrict the use of triclosan in many consumer products, including those that would come into contact with food. Both the EPA and FDA have also acknowledged the potential for this chemical to interfere with the body’s thyroid hormone, which is important for brain development and function, particularly in children. Other thyroid disrupting chemicals have been associated with learning and behavioral problems. Moreover, increasing scientific studies point to the ability of this chemical and other antibiotic chemicals to contribute to the development of antibacterial resistance, which is a looming public health crisis that could lead to infections that are not treatable using today’s medications.

Markey sent letters to thirteen companies known to make products that contain triclosan (or Microban, a chemical formulation that sometimes contains triclosan) including: Rubbermaid; Colgate-Palmolive, the popular soap and toothpaste manufacturer; Procter and Gamble, the maker of Softsoap and other common soap brands; Unilever, the manufacturer of Lever, Suave and Vaseline brands; Henkel of America, the maker of Dial soap;  Limited Brands, the maker of Bath and Body products; Reckitt Benckiser Inc., the company that manufactures Clean and Smooth products; Meyer Corporation, the maker of Faberware products; Infantino, the  manufacturer of several children’s toys and products; Highel, the maker of Neoflam cutting boards; Acme United, the company that manufactures Clauss knives; and Victorinox, the maker of Swiss army and other knives.

Last week, Chairman Markey released regulatory recommendations for triclosan and other similar chemicals, which can be found here:

A copy of the letters to the CEOs can be found here:

A fact sheet on triclosan prepared by Chairman Markey’s office can be found here:

For more on Chairman Markey’s triclosan work, see here: