German agency urges ban on antibacterial agent triclosan

07 August 2009 18:05  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s safety agency, Bundesinstitut fur Risikobewertung (BfR), is recommending a ban on the antibacterial agent triclosan in food contact plastic materials, it said on Friday.

Triclosan is an antibacterial active substance that is mainly used in cosmetic care products but also in clothing, cleaning agents and in various plastics that come into contact with food, the BfR said.

“As a consequence of the migration of triclosan from plastic materials to food, consumers ingested additional amounts of the biocide,” the agency said in its study report. 

“Hence BfR is of the opinion that further exposure routes should be avoided and triclosan should not be approved as a food additive,” it said.

Triclosan did not offer any hygiene advantages that could not be achieved with other cleaning agents, BfR added.

From 2010 onwards, substances which are to be used as additives in food contact plastics must be expressly approved for that purpose within the EU, BfR said.

Producers and industry groups – including specialty chemicals major Ciba, now part of BASF, and the US Soap and Detergent Association – have in the past defended triclosan against criticism that the product posed health or environmental risks.

BfR's report on triclosan is available, in the German language, on the agency’s website.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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