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Triclosan Worries Spell Trouble for Dial Complete Soap

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The Antimicrobial chemical triclosan is causing problems for the makers of Dial Complete. According to The New York Times, marketing for Dial Complete hand soap touts its germ-killing abilities, asserting that the inclusion of triclosan allows the soap to kill more germs than other brands. But Dial Complete is under fire from consumers, who have filed at least 10 federal class action lawsuits alleging that these germ-killing claims are unproven and misleading. The lawsuits, which were recently consolidated in a multidistrict litigation and transferred to U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire, also allege that triclosan has been tied to antibiotic resistance.

Triclosan, originally developed as a surgical scrub, is now most often found in antibacterial soaps, sanitizers and body washes, toothpaste, medical devices, clothing, kitchenware, furniture, toys, cutting boards, and diaper bags, to name just some. Companies that market triclosan products claim they are safe, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagrees and registered triclosan as a pesticide. The EPA even rated triclosan as a human health and environmental risk.

In 2005, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which has been reviewing triclosan since 1972, said that antimicrobial soaps and sanitizers don’t reduce illness and infection risks in the home. The agency issued a Safety Communication in April 2010, stating that it does not have evidence that triclosan-containing antibacterial soaps and body washes provide any extra health benefit over soap and water alone.

The frequent use of triclosan in consumer products is having an impact on humans. A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey found that triclosan is so ubiquitous that it is present in the urine of 75 percent of Americans who are over the age of 5, noted The New York Times.

A number of consumer advocacy groups and at least one Congressman – Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) – have sought bans of triclosan-containing products, according to the Times. Despite this pressure, the FDA is looking to postpone release of its three-decade long triclosan review until 2012

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