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Endocrine Update

By PCN Staff

Good news for public health and water quality from Minnesota these days. As of June of this year, state agencies and institutions are no longer buying soaps and cleaning products containing the pesticide triclosan.

Governor Mark Dayton made the shift with an executive order. The new policy — the first of its kind in the country — comes in response to a combination of strong science and public concern about the chemical’s prevalence and harms.

Earlier this year, researchers reported widespread triclosan contamination of Minnesota lakes, adding urgency to ongoing efforts of local groups such as Friends of the Mississippi River to curb use of this anti-microbial pesticide.

Signaling concerns about exposure to the chemical, a statement from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) describes triclosan as an “endocrine disrupting compound” believed to contribute to antibiotic resistance with links to other health and environmental problems.

This is information is not new. In 1972, the Food and Drug Administration flagged concerns about the health and environmental effects of the chemical in consumer products, but the agency has yet to take action. However, as the New York Times reported more than a year ago, some companies are voluntarily removing the chemical from their products due to growing public concern.

As we’ve reported here in previous blogs, studies show that washing up with simple soap and water is just as effective as using products containing the anti-microbial pesticide. Cathy Moeger, MPCA’s sustainability manager, explained that Minnesota state agencies will use their collective buying power to build the market for safer soaps and cleaning products:

“By purchasing items without triclosan, state agencies are doing their part to keep this harmful chemical out of Minnesota waters.”

Congratulations to Minnesota policymakers on this landmark decision, and to the local groups and scientists whose work made the decision possible!

Note: Our partners at Beyond Pesticides provide additional resources and information on triclosan, including a list of common products containing the pesticide and a model resolution for local governments, school districts or institutions.

From Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) March 8, 2013

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

The State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals—2012, is an update of the scientific knowledge, including main conclusions and key concerns, on endocrine disruptors as part of the ongoing collaboration between WHO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to address concerns about the potential adverse health effects of chemicals on humans and wildlife. Further information, the summary report, the full report and additional information on endocrine disrupting chemicals can be viewed here.

New Report

PBDE Flame Retardents and Indoor Environments: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire?
To download the new report click here.

Also in the JULY 2013 Issue of An Ounce

Published: July 1st, 2013