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Source: Orchard Park Bee

Bill to ban chemical from personal, cleaning products

Posted: November 5, 2015
Originally Published: November 5, 2015

Environmental advocates are calling for a ban on the use of triclosan in cleaning and personal products to help alleviate pollution in the Great Lakes.

Sen. Tim Kennedy is pushing for the ban on the chemical, which has been found in the Great Lakes and can be toxic to aquatic life and algae.

Kennedy has introduced legislation that would prohibit the sale of any of these products that contain triclosan or chemical derivatives of it.

Triclosan was first added to commercial liquid hand soap in 1987 but is now found in a variety of personal care products, including shampoo, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and deodorant. When washed down the drain, triclosan enters wastewater treatment plants.

According to Kennedy, many treatment plants are unable to completely remove the chemical from the water.

As a result, the remnants of triclosan are transferred to Great Lakes waterways, and can subsequently affect aquatic ecosystems.

Kennedy said this bill and the ban on microbeads need to be a priority when the Senate returns to Albany in January.

“Every time we wash our hands or brush our teeth, we shouldn't be polluting the Great Lakes with toxic triclosan,” said Brian Smith, associate executive director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “When it comes to protecting our Great Lakes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Citizens Campaign for the Environment commends Sen. Kennedy for proactively working to address the threat of triclosan, before more damage is done.”

New York State is home to more than 700 miles of Great Lakes waterfront, and 33 counties are located in the Great Lakes Basin watershed.

According to the National Resources Defense Council, studies have shown that triclosan can interfere with the development of tadpoles and earthworms and can have a toxic effect on photosynthesis in algae, threatening the ecosystem.

A study by the Great Lakes Alliance found that triclosan is one of the leading compound contaminants found in the Great Lakes.