Widespread Use of Triclosan Raises Health, Environmental Concerns

The antimicrobial <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/triclosan">triclosan, used to kill dangerous microorganisms, has become so commonplace that it can be found in an enormous array of personal car products, is infiltrating our environment, and is contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Triclosan was originally developed as a surgical scrub, but is now widely used in consumer products such as soap and body washes, toothpaste, clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys.

Regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), triclosan is found in clothing, toys, kitchen utensils and cutting boards, hairbrushes, computer keyboards, countertops, plastics, facial tissues, hand soaps, cosmetics, toothpastes, deodorants, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, antiseptics, and medical devices.

Research indicates that widespread triclosan use causes some serious health and environmental problems. As a matter-of-fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in its 2009 report and 2010 update, National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, that triclosan is in the bodies of 75 percent of the U.S. population and its levels are increasing.

A critical health concern is triclosan’s link to bacterial resistance, a special problem for vulnerable populations. An endocrine disruptor shown to affect male and female reproductive hormones, triclosan potentially increases cancer risks and studies show its adverse effects on fetal growth and development. The pesticide also accumulates in biosolids, is taken up by food crops, and breaks down to different dioxins, exposing consumers to even more dangerous chemicals.

An emerging study suggests that young people overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing triclosan may be at increased allergy risks and the European Union’s (EU) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety issued a warning that triclosan could add to bacterial resistance, calling for more studies.

Care2, says that triclosan—which it notes can also be found in pet shampoo, skin cleansers, food sprays and creams, bath soaks, dry shampoo mouthwash, hand sanitizers and soaps, and shaving creams and gels—can be avoided by simply reading product labels, even those labeled as “natural,” it noted.

Triclosan made headlines recently for its part in a class action lawsuit filed against the Dial Corporation, accused of making false claims in the marketing of its Dial Complete Antibacterial Handwash. This latest Dial Complete class action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division. The plaintiff in the suit is represented by the national law firm of Parker Waichman Alonso LLP and Neblett Beard & Arsenault. The Dial Complete line includes body washes, bar soap, liquid hand soap and hand sanitizers. Dial’s marketing materials for these products make such claims as “kills 99.99% of germs” and “kills more germs than any other liquid hand soap.”

According to this latest lawsuit,<"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Dial-Complete-Antibacterial-Hand-Wash-Soap-Class-Action-Lawsuit"> Dial Complete contains Triclosan as its active ingredient. According to the Florida Dial Complete lawsuit, while companies that manufacture products containing Triclosan—including Dial Complete—claim that it is safe, the EPA has registered it as a pesticide and has rated it high for human health risk and environmental risk.

This is not the first lawsuit that has accused Dial Corporation of misleading representation in its marketing of Dial Complete. As we previously reported, a lawsuit making many of the same claims was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. A similar complaint was also filed in federal court in Illinois last September. All of these Dial Complete class action lawsuits have been brought on behalf of consumers who purchased the product.

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