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SDA Response to Antibacterial Ingredient Research:
Facts, Not Fear, Should Drive Discussion

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 25, 2006 – The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) is setting the record straight on recent research on the antibacterial ingredient triclocarban (TCC).

SDA, which represents the nation’s cleaning product makers and their ingredient suppliers, expressed disappointment at some of the rhetoric used by Johns Hopkins University researcher Rolf Halden to promote his recent study.  Dr. Halden, in publicity materials issued by the University, made erroneous statements about TCC, a widely used ingredient in antibacterial hygiene products that eliminates or reduces harmful germs that can cause illness.

Dr. Halden’s assertions about TCC’s safety and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) alleged opinion about TCC are not borne out by the facts, says SDA.

“It is important to recognize that many chemicals used to make everyday products and equipment, including those used in laboratory research labs, can be found in the environment in trace amounts.  However, the mere presence of a chemical does not signify a health risk.  And we have seen no reliable data suggesting TCC poses a health risk.

“For example, a June 2005 risk assessment on triclocarban, done by a European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, found that triclocarban ‘does not pose a direct risk to the health of the consumer.’  The report is available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_016.pdf.

“Additionally, a comprehensive analysis of research on triclocarban shared with the Environmental Protection Agency by SDA in 2002 found that TCC has an acceptable human and environmental safety profile.  That research can be found at http://www.epa.gov/chemrtk/tricloca/c14186.pdf.

“We are unaware of any official statements by the FDA concluding, as Dr. Halden does, that triclocarban has no benefit.

“Summaries of research showing the benefits of triclocarban-containing products have been shared with the agency.  Examples of these health research findings are available at  http://www.cleaning101.com/antibacterial/2001%20SDA-CTFA%20Submission-AppdxA.pdf.

&ldquo​;Dr. Halden casually refers to TCC as toxic.  The truth is that TCC is toxic to the germs that make people sick.  Triclocarban and other antibacterial ingredients contained in hygiene products are used safely and effectively every day in hospitals and health care centers, day care centers and nursing homes, schools, offices and homes.   

“Additionally, this study does not contain research about the antibacterial ingredient triclosan.  Any comparisons made to triclosan in the study or media reports are incorrect and do not reflect sound scientific findings about its beneficial use in consumer products.”

SDA calls for reasoned discussions of new research using realistic risk assessment scenarios, rather than casual observations which can lead to distorted headlines and misleading conclusions.

“Facts, not fear, should drive public discussion of scientific research.” 

You can view more detailed information on the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial products on ACI’s Antibacterial Information page, at www.cleaninginstitute.org/antibacterials.