Dispatch: NRDC vs. Common Sense: Common Sense Wins

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Upon reading that the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is suing the FDA over their alleged failure to regulate “toxic” chemicals found in antimicrobial soaps, ACSH staffers couldn’t help but again wonder when all the chemophobia madness will end?

In a Reuters article reporting on the suit, journalist Alexandria Sage promotes the NRDC to a nonprofit “health” group even though “they’re not a health group, but an environmental activism group that believes every chemical is dangerous,” fumes ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.

The NRDC alleges that two chemicals found in antimicrobial soaps, triclosan and triclocarbon, harm reproductive organs, sperm quality and the production of thyroid and sex hormones. Their suit aims to require that the FDA further study and establish the safety of these chemicals, even though the agency already reported in April that there was no evidence to denote any harmful health effects from exposure to these substances.

“NRDC is the same group that orchestrated an entire scare against Alar — a growth regulator used on apples — in 1989. ACSH totally discredited their claims in that instance, and we plan do the same now,” asserts Dr. Whelan. “I just don’t understand why they keep going on with the same junk science rant decade after decade.”

“Being angry at NRDC for this is like being angry at a dog for barking. What really bothers me is that the media continues to report on their scares as though there was some science behind them, when there is none,” adds ACSH's Jeff Stier.

“This alarmist hype should not be confused with the real concern physicians and public health officials feel about the overuse of antibacterial lotions possibly contributing to the overgrowth of resistant microbes,” says ACSH staffer Susan Ingber. “Excessive cleansing in the home may be a factor in producing resistant germs, even while underuse in hospitals may lead to preventable infections.”