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  • William Petroski

Iowa Senate panel OKs ban on antibacterial chemical

An Iowa Senate subcommitte advanced a bill Monday to ban the retail sale of triclosan, an antibacterial chemical, if it will be used for sanitizing or hand and body cleaning.

Senate File 62, introduced by Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa, City, would take effect Jan. 1, 2017. The bill now heads to the Senate Human Resources Committee for consideration. The prohibition would not apply to consumer products including triclosan that have been approved for consumer use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Triclosan has been linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function, according to the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Triclosan is common in liquid hand soap and dishwashing detergent, and is also found in deodorant, shoe insoles and other products.

Minnesota last year became the first state to ban triclosan by Jan. 1, 2017, because of health and environmental concerns. One Minnesota lawmaker predicted most manfacturers will phase out triclosan by then anyway.

Bolkcom said wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical, which means it ends up in lakes, rivers and other water sources. He said federal studies have shown triclosan provides no benefits over plain soap and water and that the American Medical Association recommends that triclosan not be used in the home because it could encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Lobbyists for the Iowa Grocery Industry Association and the Iowa Retail Association said they were undecided on the bill, and that their clients were still studying the potential implications of the legislation.

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