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Minnesota Bans Anti-Bacterial Chemical From Soaps

May 21, 2014 02:57 PM EDT

Minnesota will be the first US state to ban triclosan, an ingredient commonly found in soaps, toothpaste, and deodorants that some researchers have linked to health and environmental problems, including the increased prevalence of drug resistant bacteria.

Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota signed a bill on Friday which prohibits the use of triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products. According to the Associated Press, the bill was inspired by a growing pile of reports that link the ingredient to a disruption of human hormones and even the recent increased prevalence of drug resistant bacteria.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), triclosan is added to consumer products to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination and is tightly regulated. However, the administration admits that recent "scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review."

"In light of these studies, FDA is engaged in an ongoing scientific and regulatory review of this ingredient. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time," the organization stated.

However, this has not stopped Minnesota from taking precautionary action ahead of schedule. The triclosan-banning bill is expected to take effect January 1, 2017, making Minnesota the first of several states who are likely to ban the product.

According to the not-for-profit public health group Beyond Pesticides, this ban may be unnecessary in three years time.

"Over the last few years, as a direct result of... scientific evidence documenting adverse health effects... major manufacturers have quietly reformulated their products without triclosan," the organization reports, congratulating media pressure and political efforts taken against the ingredient.

This has not been a good month for soaps. Last week, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman called for a state-wide ban of soaps containing microbeads, citing recent studies that show how harmful the tiny plastic abrasives can be to the environment.

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