44 years later, pesticide-free soap | Pesticide Action Network
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44 years later, pesticide-free soap

Kristin Schafer's picture
Kid washing hands

Well that took awhile. In early September, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a list of products they will no longer allow in soaps. On that list was the pesticide triclosan — which was identified as a chemical of concern in 1972.

Yep, 44 years. Here's what I wrote back in 2011 when FDA set the process in motion that resulted in this month's announcement:

FDA first flagged concerns about triclosan in consumer products back in 1972. In 1978, they proposed banning the pesticide from hospital scrubs and hand soaps within a couple of years, but for some reason, nothing was done. The same thing happened again nearly 20 years later, in 1994.

It's definitely worth celebrating that this pesticide — which studies show is no more effective than regular soap and water — will no longer be in liquid soaps. But it's pretty disconcerting that it took more than four decades to make it happen. It also took persistent, effective pressure from many environmental health organizations, including PAN. We've delivered many thousands of signatures from concerned supporters over the years calling for action.

Thanks, FDA, for finally doing the right thing. But 45 years? It has to makes you wonder: just whose interests are our public agencies prioritizing?

Kristin Schafer
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Kristin Schafer's picture

Kristin Schafer was PAN's Executive Director until early 2022. With training in international policy and social change strategies, Kristin was at PAN for over 25 years. Before taking on the Executive Director role in 2017, she was PAN's program and policy director. She was lead author on several PAN reports, with a particular emphasis on children's health. She continues to serve on the Policy Committee of the Children's Environmental Health Network. Follow @KristinAtPAN