NRDC Sues FDA Over Antibacterial Chemicals

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Last April the Natural Resources Defense Council reported that up to 75 percent of antibacterial products contain the hormone-disrupting chemicals triclosan and triclocarban. At the time, the NRDC encouraged consumers to be anti antibacterial and chose safe products that didn’t contain these two chemicals. Now the NRDC is taking the issue and step further and suing the Food and Drug Administration to have the chemicals removed from these products completely.

In April the FDA acknowledged that antibacterial products have little benefit over regular soap and water, and the agency expressed concern that using these products could lead to antibiotic resistance and long-term health effects. This is nothing new for the FDA, however. The agency has long known (or at least suspected) that these chemicals have negative side effects because it proposed a law to remove triclosan and triclocarban from antibacterial products–in 1978. It’s 32 years later, and the law is still nothing more than just a proposal.

Many hand sanitizers and antibacterial products contain the hormone-disrupting chemicals triclosan and triclocarban. Photo By akemp42/Courtesy Flickr.

The NRDC hopes that filing a lawsuit against the FDA will give the government agency the push it needs to “speed up” the finalization process on the now three-decades-old proposed law. The lawsuit, which was filed in New York, asks the courts to impose a strict deadline on the FDA to finalize the rule. Until this happens, triclosan and triclocarban cannot be regulated and therefore cannot be banned.

Triclosan and triclarban have a number of health problems associated with their use, from possible antibiotic resistance to brain and nervous system development to reproductive disorders such as poor sperm quality and infertility. For a safe, natural hand sanitizer, check out CleanWell’s line of sanitizing and disinfecting products.

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