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Minnesota Bans Triclosan, Others May Follow

Published July 2, 2014
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Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill to make Minnesota the first state in the US to prohibit the use of triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products. The Minnesota House and Senate passed it earlier last week because of health and environmental concerns about the chemical. The ban, which is vigorously opposed by the American Cleaning Institute, isn’t due to take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, but one of its lead sponsors, Sen. John Marty, predicted that the odds are good that most manufacturers will phase out triclosan by then anyway.

“While this is an effort to ban triclosan from one of the 50 states, I think it will have a greater impact than that,” Marty said.

The Roseville Democrat said other states and the federal government are likely to act, too. And he said some companies are already catching on that there’s no marketing advantage to keeping triclosan in its products. He noted that Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste is now marketing itself as triclosan-free.

The ban was approved about a month after a new study confirmed that the use of antibacterial soaps can reduce the spread of harmful bacteria, which often leads to foodborne illness, more effectively than using non-antibacterial soaps. 

The research, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection (Vol. 77, No. 4, 2014, pp. 574-582), used new laboratory data, together with simulation techniques, to compare the ability of non-antibacterial and antibacterial products to reduce the risk of the infectious disease shigellosis, which is often spread during food preparation.

The agency announced last year that it would revisit the safety of triclosan and other germ-killing ingredients used in personal cleaning products. 

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