Newswise — A U.S. Food and Drug Administration-issued rule going into effect Sept. 1, 2017, establishes that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products containing certain active ingredients can no longer be marketed.

Manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients, including triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.

Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Security and professor of engineering, is available for interviews to discuss the research behind the ban.  

To book a TV or radio interview with Halden in ASU's professional recording studio, contact Leslie Minton at [email protected] or 480-727-4294. 

Halden studies the broad interconnectedness of the water cycle and human health, with special emphasis on the role of man-made products and human lifestyle choices on environmental quality. It has increasingly led him on a journey from scientific discovery to reforming public policy on the antibacterial soap issue.

Halden’s team was the first to discover TCC  as a nationwide environmental pollutant and found TCC and TCS dating back to the 1950s in sediments of New York’s Jamaica Bay and Baltimore’s Chesapeake Bay, where they were discharged in treated domestic wastewater.  More recently, Halden found the same antimicrobial ingredients contaminating Minnesota’s freshwater lakes, released into nearby waters from various human activities. 

Halden’s team found the antimicrobials in wastewater treatment plants of over 160 U.S. cities, showing that half to three quarters of the chemicals did not degrade and persisted in sewage sludge. The problem with these substances is that their chemical structure is mostly foreign to nature. This leaves natural breakdown mechanisms and enzymes ineffective in destroying them.