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19
Dec

Groups Asked to Sign Statement Seeking To Restrict Triclosan, Find EPA Health and Environmental Standards Too Weak

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2008) In resopnse to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published final Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) document for triclosan (October 29, 2008), groups are citing a serious lack of health and environmental protection and the agency’s failure to meet its statutory duty. Formal comments will be submitted to the agency during a comment period that ends at the end of December 2008. Groups have been invited to sign a joint statement.

Triclosan is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent that in recent years has exploded onto the consumer market in a wide variety of antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, plastics, and other products. Studies link triclosan to a range of health and environmental effects, from skin irritation, allergy susceptibility, bacterial and compounded antibiotic resistant, and dioxin contamination to destruction of fragile aquatic ecosystems.

Many of Beyond Pesticides comments that were submitted on July 7, 2008 were considered and amendments were made to the risk assessment. However, despite many lingering issues related to triclosan continued threat to human and environmental health, the agency concluded that triclosan was eligible for reregistration. This means that the continued and expanding use of this chlorinated, bioaccumulative pesticide, with the ability to produce resistant strains of bacteria and cross resistance with antibiotics, with degradates unaccounted for is set to continue. EPA’s RED says that this is not a concern.

Please see comments on EPA’s Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for Triclosan. If you’d like to have your organization sign on, please let Nichelle Harriott know by 3:00pm (EST), Monday, December 22, 2008.

Background
In July 2008, over 50 groups and distinguished individuals signed onto comments criticizing the preliminary risk assessment and urging the EPA to reconsider the reregistration of triclosan. Triclosan, which is expected to reach a market value of $930 million by 2009, exploded on to the marketplace in recent years, growing 5 percent annually, in products from soaps, cosmetic and personal care products, toothbrushes and toothpaste, to plastic toys and clothing. EPA believes that levels of concern for triclosan have not been exceeded even though this pervasive chemical is shown to threaten human health and the environment.

In the RED document, EPA acknowledges that triclosan interacts with androgen and estrogen receptors and has effects on thyroid homeostasis in rat studies. The agency also mentions that it is aware of research looking at triclosan’s link to antibacterial and antibiotic resistance. However, the agency continues to be negligent on these serious impacts on public health by stating that it will continue to “monitor the science.” EPA also continues to ignore triclosan’s degradates and has once again failed to conduct any risk assessments for these hazardous chemicals. Methyl triclosan, a degradation product of triclosan, has been found to accumulate in fish, while DCP (2,4-dichlorophenol), another degradation product, is listed as a potential endocrine disruptor by the European Union and is an EPA priority pollutant. EPA also continues to ignore triclosan residues in fish and drinking water. The agency’s approach to these issues are neglectful and an unnecessary threat to human health.

It is clear from the RED document that the EPA conducted its reassessment of triclosan inadequately and improperly. This violates requirements of FIFRA and other federal laws, and would allow widespread use of a substance that is demonstrated threat to human health and the environment.

Please let us know if you’d like to sign-on to the comments.

Also, you can send your own comments (Please send us a copy if you do). Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2007-0513, by one of the following methods:

* Federal eRulemaking Portal (recommended): Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
* Mail: Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) Regulatory Public Docket (7502P), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.
* Delivery: OPP Regulatory Public Docket (7502P), Environmental Protection Agency, Rm. S-4400, One Potomac Yard (South Bld.g), 2777 S. Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA. Deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation 8:30 a.m. to 4p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays).

For further information from EPA contact: Heather Garvie, Antimicrobials Division (7510P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-8154; fax number: (703) 308-0034; e-mail address: garvie.heather@epa.gov

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