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Source: WBFO Buffalo

Advocates warn of toxic chemical in area waterways

BY CHRIS CAYA

Posted: October 23, 2015
Originally Published: October 20, 2015

(L to R) Jill Jedlicka, Sen. Tim Kennedy and Brian Smith are warning about the potential dangers of the chemical triclosan in the region's water.

(L to R) Jill Jedlicka, Sen. Tim Kennedy and Brian Smith are warning about the potential dangers of the chemical triclosan in the region's water.

Legislation proposed by Sen. Tim Kennedy would help keep a toxic chemical out of New York's fresh water supply. Kennedy is proposing a ban on the sale of products containing the anti-microbial chemical.

Triclosan is found in many cleaning and personal care products, including hand soap, shampoo and toothpaste. The South Buffalo Democrat says triclosan is being washed down the drain and can be toxic to aquatic life and algae.

"The science still is out on its impact to people, but studies from the Mayo Clinic are beginning to raise questions about triclosan's effect on hormone regulation in animals. It may be detrimental to human immune systems and we know that it can be toxic to the algae and fish that other wildlife feed on," Kennedy said at a Tuesday news conference.

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka says triclosan is not regulated or tested for and she says it breaks down into dioxin when exposed to sunlight.

"Dioxins are a family of chemicals that are the most toxic materials known to science. We know them very well because of Love Canal. We have a history of them in Western New York. It's a persistent organic pollutant and there is no safe level of exposure," Jedlicka said.

The only exception to banning products with the chemical Kennedy says would be for use in medical facilities where triclosan's anti-microbial properties are needed the most.

Brian Smith with the Citizen's Campaign for the Environment says triclosan is making its way into the Great Lakes, where it's posing a threat to the health of the water.

"Clean hands and clean teeth do not have to mean polluted water. Triclosan is unnecessary and safer alternatives already exist," said Smith.


Kennedy says the only exception to the ban would be for use in medical facilities where triclosan's anti-microbial properties are needed the most.