Dioxin: Legislative Developments

October 31, 2015

N.Y. Bill Proposes Ban on Triclosan

A bill has been introduced in the New York State Senate that would ban the use of triclosan in cleaning and personal care products.

Ban Proposed

New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) has introduced legislation, S.6070, that, if enacted, would ban the use of triclosan or any chemical derivatives in cleaning and personal care products such as antibacterial soaps, dishwashing products, shampoos, conditioners, laundry detergents, and softeners.

In particular, the bill would amend the New York Environmental Conservation Law by adding a new section, Section 37-0115, which would prohibit any person, firm, partnership, association, limited liability company, or corporation from selling or offering for sale any cleaning products containing triclosan, triclocarban, or derivatives of such antibacterial compounds within New York State.

This bill would not prohibit the sale of such products where they are used solely in medical facilities.

In addition, the bill would authorize the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) to promulgate rules and regulations in order to implement these provisions. The bill also contains civil penalties for violation of its provisions.

Senator Kennedy said in a statement that, when washed down the drain, triclosan enters wastewater treatment plants and that many plants are unable to completely remove the chemical from the water.  As a result, he added, the remnants of triclosan then are transferred to waterways and can affect aquatic ecosystems.

Although the federal Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has indicated that triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans, and although triclosan is one of the most commonly used antibacterial ingredients in consumer products worldwide, a number of personal care product companies have said that they will discontinue the use of triclosan in their cleaning products. For example, Johnson and Johnson has committed to the removal of triclosan from all adult products, despite its having “a long and extensive history of safe use.”

Senator Kennedy’s bill has been sent to the Senate’s Rules Committee. If enacted, it would take effect 18 months after passage.

The legislature returns to Albany in January.

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