EPA accused of ignoring sewage chemicals

May 10, 2006

U.S. scientists say tons of bacteria-killing chemicals are being released into the environment annually, possibly entering food and water supplies.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore say about 75 percent of the antibacterial chemicals used in soaps and numerous other household products end up on farm fields, yet no government agency monitors or regulates them, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The scientists say about 200 tons of two commonly used chemicals -- triclocarban and triclosan -- are applied annually to agricultural lands nationwide.

The antibacterial chemicals are used in dishwashing and hand soaps, toothpaste, cutting boards and shower curtains, with about 1,500 such products introduced since 2000, the Times said.

Rolf Halden, an assistant Johns Hopkins professor who led the study, noted triclocarban, used in antibacterial soaps and toothpaste, is "potentially problematic."

"What we are finding is this chemical is building up in the environment," Halden said. "This is an example of an emerging contaminant. It has been in the environment for almost five decades, and we manufacture large volumes of it, but we don't know what happens to it."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Pacific leaders say climate will claim entire nations

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study suggests that being too clean can make people sick

Nov 29, 2010

Young people who are overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing triclosan may suffer more allergies, and exposure to higher levels of Bisphenol A among adults may negatively influence the immune system, a new University ...

Some antibacterials come with worrisome silver lining

Feb 24, 2014

Silver has long been known for its ability to kill some of the nasty microbes that can make people sick. In hospitals, it's used to help burn victims, to combat germs on catheters and even to wipe out dangerous "superbugs" ...

Recommended for you

Tracking giant kelp from space

1 hour ago

Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won't have to get their feet wet to do it. The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists ...

Heavy metals and hydroelectricity

2 hours ago

Hydraulic engineering is increasingly relied on for hydroelectricity generation. However, redirecting stream flow can yield unintended consequences. In the August 2014 issue of GSA Today, Donald Rodbell of ...

What's wiping out the Caribbean corals?

3 hours ago

Here's what we know about white-band disease: It has already killed up to 95 percent of the Caribbean's reef-building elkhorn and staghorn corals, and it's caused by an infectious bacteria that seems to be ...

User comments : 0