The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that they denied a request to ban all uses of the chemical triclosan and to impose new regulations on releases of the antimicrobial pesticide into bodies of water.

According to ISSA reporting, the EPA disagreed with the environmental groups asking for a ban on their claims that triclosan poses a danger to human health. The agency cited recent risk assessments it conducted through its required re-evaluation of the chemical's pesticide registration.

“Antimicrobial uses of triclosan met the applicable statutory standards, and the petition and supporting comments did not provide sufficient evidence to significantly change those conclusions,” the leaders of the EPA's water, pesticides and science and technology divisions wrote in their May 13 response to the environmental groups.

ISSA reported that the groups Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch petitioned EPA in 2010 to enact stringent new regulations on triclosan, which is used as an antimicrobial agent in cleaning products, toothpaste, clothing, children's toys and other items. They said the chemical can interfere with the endocrine systems of humans and animals, and that it also can accumulate within the body at high levels.  Therefore, the groups asked EPA not only to revoke the pesticide registration for triclosan and ban all products that contain it, but also to set limits on releases of triclosan into bodies of water and to consider regulating triclosan in drinking water.

Though the agency wouldn't agree to do these things, it did say it would undertake a biological assessment on whether triclosan can affect endangered species. If the EPA determines there could be an effect, it would be required under the Endangered Species Act to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the NOAA Fisheries Service on a comprehensive study of triclosan's ecological impact.

The two environmental groups are also petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to ban triclosan in personal care products such as cosmetics and soap, as the EPA's authority on antimicrobial products extends only to those not meant to be applied to the body. The FDA has yet to respond to their petition.