PERSONAL CARE PRODUCT CHEMICALS: Is the Triclosan in Your Toothpaste and Toothbrush a Good Idea? Thanks to a Lawsuit, the FDA Will Finally Have to Decide.
The FDA has been waiting decades (since 1978) to tell us whether triclosan, a soap and toothpaste additive, is harmful. The ’78 draft by the FDA stated that it was unsure whether triclosan qualified as either safe or effective, but it never did anything that would have eased the ambiguity around its safety. But now a lawsuit is finally forcing its hand. The lawsuit was brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) against the FDA, to force it to make a decision on whether triclosan is dangerous or not.
Now that NRDC has won the suit, the FDA’s final monograph — or determination on whether triclosan qualifies as both safe and effective — will be released on Dec. 16, 2013. After that, there will be a six-month public comment period that will close on June 16, 2014, and after that there will be a year and a half dedicated to still more rebuttals.
The final monograph will be released on Dec. 16, 2016. Although many have reported that the lawsuit will force a ban of triclosan outright, all it’s really doing is forcing the FDA to make a decision. The FDA may decide that it’s perfectly safe and effective. Or it may decide that it needs even more information than it’s been able to gather over the last 35 years.
Meanwhile…the companies that use triclosan (like Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson), who have seemed immune to all the shaming and disdain directed towards them over the last three decades, are starting to reformulate their products to remove triclosan—either because the negative publicity has reached a certain point where it’s worth the money to do so, or because they’re anticipating being forced to reformulate anyway.
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