Markey to FDA: Finalize Long-Overdue Regulations on Triclosan

Canadian government designates harmful chemical as toxic to environment
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), today sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on the agency to finalize three decades-overdue regulations to curb the use of triclosan in consumer products.  Yesterday, the Canadian government announced that it has designated triclosan as toxic to the environment.  Rep. Markey has urged the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to close the regulatory gap that allows triclosan, a chemical and common antimicrobial ingredient linked to endocrine disruption, to continue to be incorporated into children’s toys, food contact products and soap. Although the FDA first began developing regulations for consumer soaps and hand sanitizers containing triclosan more almost 40 years ago, it has yet to finalize these regulations.
“The decision by the Canadian government to designate triclosan as toxic to the environment underscores the urgency for the FDA to release its nearly four decades-overdue final rule on this dangerous chemical. From toothpaste to toys, triclosan is found in countless products Americans use every day -- despite the fact that both the EPA and FDA have serious concerns about this chemical’s use. We must speed up the government’s efforts to evaluate and limit the use of this chemical.  It poses a public health concern and continues to pollute our bodies. I call upon the federal government to ban the use of triclosan in consumer soaps and hand-washes, products intended for use by children, and products intended to come into contact with food.  American citizens should not be getting a lower level of protection from exposure to triclosan than that provided to our neighbors living across the border in Canada.”
A copy of the letter to the FDA can be found HERE.
More information about Rep. Markey’s work on triclosan can be found HERE.
Studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the concentration of triclosan has increased dramatically in the U.S. population, including children aged 6-11 where triclosan concentrations rose 55 percent in a two year period ending in 2006. Furthermore, both the EPA and FDA have 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. In 2010, the 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.”