Wal-Mart and other retailers are under mounting pressure to eliminate products with triclosan, an antibacterial chemical used in hand soaps and Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL)’s Total toothpaste.
Mike Schade, who is running a retailer-focused Mind the Store campaign for a Washington-based consumer group called Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, said activists are increasing their efforts to get stores to remove potentially harmful ingredients from their shelves, including triclosan.
“New scientific studies continue to emerge on a monthly basis showing that this is a chemical that is hazardous at very low levels of exposure,” Schade, whose group lobbies to ban toxic chemicals from household products, said in an interview. “We think that it’s critically important for retailers and for brands like Colgate to move swiftly in phasing out this unnecessary hazardous chemical once and for all.”
Triclosan has been linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals, and many consumer-product companies are already abandoning it. Colgate has stood by its use in Total, though, citing the rigorous Food and Drug Administration process that led to the toothpaste’s 1997 approval as an over-the-counter drug.