FDA Finally Bans Toxic Triclosan From Antibacterial Hand Soaps
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that triclosan, a toxic chemical ingredient associated with hormone disruption in people, will no longer be allowed in antibacterial hand soaps, which the Environmental Working Group (EWG) noted as a significant success.
The FDA announced today that triclosan, a toxic chemical ingredient associated with hormone disruption in people, will no longer be allowed in antibacterial hand soaps.iStock
"This decision by the FDA is a huge victory on behalf of human health and the environment," Ken Cook, co-founder and president of EWG, said. "EWG has been conducting research and advocating for this exact federal government action for nearly a decade and our work, as well as that of other public interest groups and many of our supporters, has finally paid off."
"EWG research found industry adding this sketchy, endocrine-disrupting germ killer to all kinds of soaps and even to toothpaste. Nine years ago we found it at disturbing levels in San Francisco Bay," Cook added. "Worse yet, EWG studies detected the stuff in breast milk and in bodies of teenage girls. Clearly this is an industry that needed a good, swift kick in the triclosan. It took far too long, but today the FDA delivered."
6 Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Antibacterial Soap https://t.co/KcpVlks5Te via @ecowatch @ewg @Healthy_Stuff @echoinggreen @EDFHealth— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1467816955.0
In a first-of-its kind study, in 2008, EWG found triclosan and 15 other toxic chemicals in blood and urine of 20 teen girls from eight states and the District of Columbia.
In a separate report from 2008, EWG scoured industry documents and government databases to assemble a list of all the products in which triclosan was approved for use.
As the Skin Deep database was launched in 2004, EWG highlighted a number of products that contained triclosan. Today, many of the personal care products that once contained the toxic chemical, no longer include it as an ingredient.
"FDA's decision marks another important victory for the tens of millions of shoppers who come to EWG for advice every year," Cook said. "They want companies to clean up consumer goods—from personal care products to food—by getting rid of questionable and unnecessary ingredients. And they want full transparency so they know all the ingredients contained in the products they buy."
Consumer antibacterial soaps with triclosan and triclocarban were put on the market without data demonstrating clinically significant health benefits from their use in a non-hospital setting, noted EWG in comments submitted to the FDA in 2014.
In recent years the cosmetics and cleaning sectors have largely replaced triclosan in hand soaps, although it is still found in some acne products, body washes and Colgate Total toothpaste. The FDA is taking an additional year to review the safety of another antibacterial ingredient, benzalkonium chloride, which is also used in some hand sanitizers.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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