FDA Lawsuit Targets Antibacterial Soap Ingredient

FDA Lawsuit Targets Antibacterial Soap Ingredient

Hand washing - CC license by Flickr user Arlington County

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to force it to issue a ruling on triclosan, an antibacterial soap ingredient that has not been proven to be any more effective than regular soap and water.

The FDA first proposed a rule in 1978 that would have banned triclosan and triclocarban from soap, but the agency never finalized a rule on the chemicals. The NRDC lawsuit calls for the FDA to set a deadline for issuing a rule.

On its website, the FDA says that while laboratory studies on animals have linked triclosan to changes in hormone regulation, which could cause reproductive and development problems, that doesn't necessarily mean it would have the same effects on humans. "FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan," the agency states.

The FDA also says it has not received any evidence that shows triclosan in soap is any more beneficial than just washing with regular soap and water. It has, though, been found to help prevent gingivitis when used in toothpaste.

The agency is reviewing information on triclosan's safety in consumer products, planning to release its findings in spring 2011.

This is the second NRDC lawsuit within the last month attempting to force the FDA to act on a chemical. The environmental group is also suing the FDA for not taking any action on bisphenol A (BPA) in the 18 months since it petitioned the agency to ban BPA in food packaging.

 

Hand washing - CC license by Flickr user Arlington County