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: MEPs back plans to slash use of plastic shopping bags

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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" ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

Researchers question emergency water treatment guidelines

13 hours ago

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens ...

European climate at the +2 C global warming threshold

15 hours ago

A global warming of 2 C relative to pre-industrial climate has been considered as a threshold which society should endeavor to remain below, in order to limit the dangerous effects of anthropogenic climate change.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Melting during cooling period

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...