FDA Shows Signs of a Pulse, But No Real Movement

Come on, FDA.

Like I mentioned in my recent  blog on soaps, we are really concerned about the use of triclosan and triclocarban in “antibacterial” soaps.  We had been trying to get some answers from FDA for a year now, to no avail.  Lots of stonewalling.  So we brought our concerns to Representative Markey, who immediately saw that this was a huge problem.  It appears that FDA was more responsive to Congress and actually answered his questions about regulation of the chemicals.  It even made an announcement today about triclosan.

Way too little.

Consider this:  when my mother was still pregnant with me, FDA had begun collecting data on these chemicals to determine whether they should be allowed in consumer products like hand soaps.  Now, I’m pregnant with my mother’s first grandchild, and FDA is still trying to figure out what it wants to do with these chemicals.  So, without giving my age away, let’s just say that FDA has done essentially nothing on this issue for more than 30 years, and its announcement today hasn’t really done anything to move this along.  In fact, FDA’s statement today boils down to: “after more than 30 years, we need at least another year.” That’s unacceptable.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see that FDA has finally publicly acknowledged that these products are no better than using regular soap and water.  But waiting another year before it simply “communicates its findings to the public” is just more of the same delay.  FDA has already spent more than 30 years looking at triclosan and triclocarban, and with today’s announcement, it’s one more year that consumers have to do their own investigations into what is safe and effective to buy and what is not. 

No good, FDA. 

If FDA can’t get out of its bad habit of simply dragging  its feet, Congress needs to step in and take action.  Representative Markey is planning to introduce legislation that will move antimicrobial regulation along.  He’s also working on improving the testing program for all endocrine disrupting chemicals in drinking water, which we’ll blog about soon.  Something needs to happen to protect public health and the environment from unsafe chemicals, and I hope it’s before my first grandchild is on the way.