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ACI Weighs in on Triclosan Ban

June 3, 2014

Doug Troutman says NGO relied on fear-mongering.

During the public policy debate in Minnesota over efforts to ban the antibacterial ingredient triclosan, the group Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) relied on distortions and fear-mongering, according to Douglas Troutman, vice president and counsel, government affairs, American Cleaning Institute.

"They pushed for this ban in the face of a great deal of information showing triclosan to be a safe and effective ingredient," he said in a statement.

Troutman said the group’s self-congratulatory post-mortem (as posted on its website by FMR’s Trevor Russell) is as misleading as the information and arguments they used to get the law that passed. This law will effectively restrict consumer choice of antibacterial soaps and washes with triclosan as of January 1, 2017.

FMR claims that they worked with “the soap industry” to “develop a negotiated compromise” leading to legislative language that narrowed a ban to “include just consumer cleaning products used for hand and body cleansing.” 

According to Troutman, FMR never contacted ACI.

"Let the record be clear: the American Cleaning Institute opposed the legislation that became the enacted law on behalf of its interested member companies. ACI was in no way involved in this so-called compromise. No one here ever heard from Mr. Russell," said Troutman. "As we testified in the legislature and communicated to Gov. Mark Dayton, triclosan is the most reviewed and researched active ingredient used in antibacterial soaps and body washes."

Troutman added that manufacturers are providing real-world scientific data and information that demonstrates what we already know: antibacterial soaps with triclosan are safe and effective. And while triclosan has been found in trace amounts in sediments in aquatic environments, there is no evidence of significant risk to humans or the environment. Research has consistently shown that triclosan and its breakdown products do not pose a risk to aquatic or terrestrial environments, nor do they pose a threat of accumulation in drinking water or food.

Triclosan’s use in antibacterial soaps is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has proposed new rules governing antibacterial soaps and their ingredients and is in the midst of an extensive public comment period on these proposals. Yet the Minnesota legislative ban on triclosan ignores this reality.

"Instead of letting federal regulators do their job, the law would take safe, effective and beneficial products off the shelves of Minnesota grocery, convenience and drug stores," said Troutman.

He added that as there will be further public policy discussions over regulating antibacterial soaps, the American Cleaning Institute and its members remain committed to advocacy based on valid, real-world science and solid data.

"We ask Friends of the Mississippi River to refrain from distorting the facts about antibacterial product safety and how they characterize how the legislative debate went down in Minnesota," Troutman concluded.