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Minnesota bans chemical triclosan from consumer products

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes and generally progressive politics, has passed a bill outlawing the use of triclosan, the germ killing agent used in antibacterial soaps, according to a May 21, 2014 news article published by Newsmax.

Minnesota state capital
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Minnesota governor Mark Dayton signed the bill to ban triclosan, making Minnesota the first U.S. state to take such decisive action. The ban eliminates triclosan from most all consumer hygiene products.

Triclosan is a chemical known to fight germs, but there are potential risks. Tests on animals show that triclosan disrupts the production of hormones that the body needs for normal development and reproduction. Further, some studies suggest that triclosan helps the body develop resistant bacteria. These reasons helped convince Minnesota governor Mark Dayton that a ban was in the best interests of the citizenry and would help safeguard the public health.

Minnesota is the only state so far to enact a ban, but supporters say Minnesota’s ban is an important first step.

"While this is an effort to ban triclosan from one of the 50 states, I think it will have a greater impact than that," said Minnesota State Senator John Marty, one of the bill’s supporters. Marty went on to say that the ban in Minnesota could result in similar actions in other states and, in due time, could lead to the eventual phasing out of tricolsan by manufacturers. One major manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble, has already decided to eliminate triclosan. The Cincinnati- based consumer products giant says it will phase it out completely by the end of 2015.

Many parents have expressed concern over triclosan due to its potentially negative effects. Yes, it can help kill germs but the negative possibilities outweigh the benefits in the minds of many. Even if the tests have been conducted only on animals and even if there is no conclusive evidence that triclosan has the same effects on humans, it is still a risk many parents would rather not take.

Official data from the Food and Drug Administration shows that triclosan is used in about 75 percent of all antibacterial liquid soaps and personal hygiene products sold in the United States. The FDA has vowed to revisit the subject of triclosan and reconsider its safety at some point in the near future.