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EPA Denies Request to Ban Trisclosan

PictureBy E. Lynn Grayson


EPA has denied the January 14, 2010 petition submitted by the Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides to ban the antimicrobial pesticide triclosan. The petition requested that EPA take the following regulatory actions:

  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA): (1) reopen the Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED); (2) issue a notice of cancellation of the registrations of all products containing triclosan; and (3) concurrently issue an emergency order to immediately suspend the existing triclosan registrations.

  • Clean Water Act (CWA): (1) impose technology-based effluent limitations; (2) establish healthbased toxic pollutant water quality pretreatment requirements; and (3) impose biosolids regulation for triclosan.

  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): conduct a comprehensive assessment of the appropriateness of regulating triclosan under SDWA.

  • Endangered Species Act (ESA): (1) conduct a biological assessment; and (2) engage in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce.

In a response issued this month following a public comment period, EPA concluded that pesticide products containing triclosan will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. EPA also denied the request to cancel triclosan registrations. EPA agreed to initiate another comprehensive assessment of the risks and benefits of triclosan pesticide products through the registration review process.

Triclosan is one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in products, including soaps, toothpastes, cosmestics, fabrics, toys, and other household consumer products. Minnesota has banned triclosan in consumer personal care products, and the FDA is requiring manufacturers to prove the safety of antibacterial products in a proposed rule issued in December 2013.