The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Email:,info(at)fwwatch(dot)org,Seth Gladstone -,

Food & Water Watch Lauds Canadian Medical Association's Stance Against Triclosan

Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch Executive Director


"Last week, the Canadian Medical Association called for a federal
ban on the use of antimicrobials in personal care products such as
those containing the pesticide triclosan. A federal ban in Canada would
place much needed pressure on regulatory bodies in the United States to
tackle this pressing human and environmental health problem.

"Regulated by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), triclosan is
commonly found in hand soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, laundry
detergents, fabric softeners, facial tissues, antiseptics, fabrics,
toys, and medical devices. Scientific studies indicate that widespread
use of triclosan causes a number of health and environmental problems.
Chief among those is resistance to antibiotic medications and bacterial
cleansers and disruption of hormone cycles. As triclosan is toxic to
algae, a key indicator of aquatic health and the cornerstone of the
food system, accumulation of the pesticide in waterways is especially
dangerous. In June, a joint research study issued by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Environment Canada; and the
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
found that for the first time, triclosan is showing up in the
bloodstream of marine mammals.

"The Canadian Medical Association's resolution echoes a statement
issued in 2000 by the American Medical Association that found little
evidence to support the efficacy of antimicrobials in consumer
products, and announced that it would be 'prudent to avoid their use'
in such applications, given the risk of antimicrobial resistance. No
further action has been taken by the American Medical Association on
triclosan since that statement was released. In July of this year, Food
& Water Watch partnered with the environmental and public health
organization Beyond Pesticides to submit a petition to FDA asking that
it ban triclosan from all non-medical applications on the basis that
those uses violate the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.

"In the face of government inaction, a number of utilities around
the country, including California's East Bay Municipal Utility District
and Palo Alto's water utility have encouraged citizens to limit their
use of triclosan. For it's part, Food & Water Watch is working to
raise public awareness and educate consumers about the problems
associated with triclosan. As of September, 2009, some 1,900 activists
have taken our pledge to not purchase products that contain this
pesticide. Food & Water Watch applauds the Canadian Medical
Association for its commitment to protecting consumers from this
dangerous and unnecessary pesticide and urges FDA to follow suit by
banning the use of triclosan in consumer products."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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