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US state bans Triclosan30th of June 2014
Triclosan - a chemical widely used in products such as liquid soaps and body washes - has been banned in US state Minnesota.
This is the first US state to have outlawed the key antibacterial ingredient due to environmental and health concerns.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, Triclosan is used in an estimated 75 per cent of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold across the US.
While the ingredient has not been proven to be hazardous to humans, studies in laboratory animals have raised concerns that it can disrupt hormones that are critical for reproduction and development. There are also fears that Triclosan could contribute to the development of resistant bacteria.
A University of Minnesota study published last year also found increasing levels of Triclosan in the sediments of several of the state's lakes. The chemical is said to break down in water to form potentially harmful dioxins.
The Minnesota ban on Triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products is due to take effect on January 1 2017, though it will probably begin to be phased out before then. However, the American Cleaning Institute is urging a rethink since it claims Triclosan to have been thoroughly researched. It also adds that the ingredient provides potentially important health benefits.
The EU has been concerned about the use of Triclosan for some time. In March this year the European Commission voted to phase out the use of the substance in some product groups including disinfectants and algaecides.
However, Triclosan is still currently considered to be safe to use at maximum concentrations of 0.3 per cent in toothpastes, hand soaps and other similar toiletry products in Europe.