Min­nesota beats rest of US in ban­ning germ-killer

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Min­nesota’s first-in-the na­tion ban on soaps con­tain­ing the once ubiq­ui­tous germ-killer tri­closan takes ef­fect Jan 1, but the peo­ple who spear­headed the law say it’s al­ready hav­ing its de­sired ef­fect on a na­tional level. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment caught up to Min­nesota’s 2014 de­ci­sion with its own ban that takes ef­fect in Septem­ber 2017. Ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers have largely phased out the chem­i­cal al­ready, with some prod­ucts be­ing mar­keted as tri­closan-free. And it’s an ex­am­ple of how changes can start at a lo­cal level. “I wanted it to change the na­tional sit­u­a­tion with tri­closan and it cer­tainly has con­trib­uted to that,” said state Sen. John Marty, an au­thor of Min­nesota’s ban.

Tri­closan once was widely used in anti-bac­te­rial soaps, de­odor­ants and even tooth­paste. But stud­ies be­gan to show it could dis­rupt sex and thy­roid hor­mones and other bod­ily func­tions, and sci­en­tists were con­cerned rou­tine use could con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of re­sis­tant bac­te­ria. And Univer­sity of Min­nesota re­search found that tri­closan can break down into po­ten­tially harm­ful diox­ins in lakes and rivers. The group Friends of the Mis­sis­sippi River and its al­lies in the Leg­is­la­ture, in­clud­ing Marty, got Gov. Mark Day­ton to sign a ban in 2014 that gave the in­dus­try un­til Jan 1, 2017, to com­ply.

In Septem­ber, the FDA banned tri­closan along with 18 other anti-bac­te­rial chem­i­cals from soaps na­tion­wide, say­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers had failed to show they were safe or more ef­fec­tive at killing germs than plain soap and wa­ter. How­ever, the FDA al­lowed the use of some tri­closan prod­ucts such as Col­gate To­tal tooth­paste, say­ing it’s ef­fec­tive at pre­vent­ing gin­givi­tis. Marty and Trevor Rus­sell, the wa­ter pro­gram di­rec­tor for Friends of the Mis­sis­sippi River, ac­knowl­edged they can’t take di­rect credit for the FDA’s ac­tion be­cause that rule­mak­ing process be­gan in 1978, though it didn’t fi­nal­ize the rule un­til af­ter a le­gal bat­tle with the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil.

How­ever, the Min­nesota men hope their ef­forts helped turn opin­ions against the chem­i­cal and are con­fi­dent the state’s ban helped prod man­u­fac­tur­ers to ac­cel­er­ate a phase-out that some com­pa­nies such as Proc­ter & Gam­ble and John­son & John­son had al­ready be­gun. Most ma­jor brands are now re­for­mu­lated, said Brian San­soni, spokesman for the Amer­i­can Clean­ing In­sti­tute, a lob­by­ing group. Soaps con­tain­ing tri­closan on store shelves are likely stocks that re­tail­ers are just us­ing up, he said. Rus­sell noted he re­cently found Dial liq­uid anti-bac­te­rial hand soap at two lo­cal Wal-Marts, two supermarkets and a Wal­greens.

The in­dus­try is now sub­mit­ting data to the FDA on the safety and ef­fec­tive­ness of the three main re­place­ments, ben­za­lko­nium chlo­ride, ben­zetho­nium chlo­ride and chlorox­ylenol. “Con­sumers can con­tinue to use these prod­ucts with con­fi­dence, like they al­ways have,” San­soni said. By go­ing first, Rus­sell said, Min­nesota can iden­tify any is­sues with im­ple­ment­ing the ban and share it with the rest of the coun­try. The Min­nesota De­part­ment of Health will re­mind con­sumers and busi­nesses of the ban’s start.—AP

CHICAGO: This file photo shows the la­bel of a bot­tle of an­tibac­te­rial soap in a kitchen in Chicago. —AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.