Government researchers plan to deliver a review this year on the effectiveness and safety of triclosan, the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75 percent of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the United States. The chemical has been in U. The concerns over triclosan offer a sobering glimpse at a little-known fact: Many chemicals used in everyday household products have never been formally approved by U.
The controversy also highlights how long it can take the federal government to review the safety of such chemicals. In the case of triclosan, Congress passed a law in requiring that the FDA set guidelines for dozens of common antibacterial chemicals found in over-the-counter soaps and scrubs. The guidelines function like a cookbook for manufacturers, detailing which chemicals can be used in what products, and in what amounts. Inthe FDA published its first tentative guidelines for chemicals used in liquid hand soaps and washes.
The draft stated that triclosan was "not generally recognized as safe and effective," because regulators could not find enough scientific research demonstrating its safety and effectiveness. The FDA published several drafts of the guidelines over the years, but the agency never finalized the results. So, companies have not had to remove triclosan from their products. Then, last summer, the FDA said its review of triclosan would be complete by late That target date then slipped the antibacterial soap controversy February, which has also come and gone.
In March, a federal appeals court said a lawsuit by the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council aimed at forcing the FDA to complete its review could move forward, the antibacterial soap controversy. A three-judge panel reinstated the lawsuit, which had been tossed out by a lower court, saying the nonprofit group presented evidence that triclosan could potentially be dangerous. Now, four decades after it was charged with reviewing triclosan, the FDA is planning to complete the antibacterial soap controversy review.
FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Yao said evaluating triclosan and other antibacterial agents is "one of the highest priorities" for the agency, but did not offer an explanation for the delay.
The American Cleaning Institute, a soap and detergent industry organization, says it has provided reams of data to FDA showing that triclosan is both safe and effective. Edward Markey, D-Mass, who asked the FDA to take a closer look at triclosan in after the European Union banned the chemical from products that come into contact with food.
The Endocrine Society, a group of doctors and scientists who specialize in the hormone system, flagged triclosan four years ago as an ingredient that alters levels of thyroid hormones and reproductive hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
What is enough evidence? Some Americans are shocked that the FDA has taken so long. In his first profile on "60 Minutes," Spirituality and mental illness improvement walks down memory lane while looking through old pictures and videos and talks about how he still feels the need to prove himself with his music. The small town of Wenatchee, Washington, is at the center of a virtual gold rush — whether the antibacterial soap controversy like it or not.
Share Tweet Reddit Flipboard Email. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Featured Paul McCartney speaks to "60 Minutes" In his first profile on "60 Minutes," McCartney walks down memory lane while looking through old pictures and videos and talks about how he still feels the need to prove himself with his music Cryptocurrency: Virtual money, real power The small town of Wenatchee, Washington, is at the center of a virtual gold rush — whether residents like it or not Notable deaths in Popular on CBS News.
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