Kennedy proposes ban on cleaning chemical

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- First it was microbeads, now environmentalists have their sights set on another cleaning chemical that they want to keep out of the Great Lakes.

The chemical is called triclosan and the makers of products like Crest toothpaste have already removed it because of the effects it might have on fish and humans.

“We have a duty and a responsibility to keep our Great Lakes clean.” said NY State Senator Tim Kennedy, who  stood at the shore of Lake Erie to propose legislation that would ban the sale, in New York State, of any product containing triclosan. Many shampoos, cleaning supplies and toothpastes already use it. It’s already banned in Minnesota.

The FDA says it bears watching. The Mayor Clinic has evidence that it could alter hormone regulation in animals, might contribute to antibiotic resistant germs, and might be harmful to the human immune system.

Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of Buffalo Riverkeeper, calls it a persistent organic pollutant. “There is no safe level of exposure. When it settles into water bodies, it rapidly accumulates into fish tissue and ultimately it works its way up the food chain to expose humans.”

Brian Smith of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment says he doesn’t want to reach the point where it ends up costing millions of dollars to clean up past mistakes. “We’re in the fortunate position, with the information and science we have to prevent the worst damage.”-

“There are many different chemicals that don’t have that same negative impact on the environment and on our waterways that can otherwise be used as cleansing agents.” said Kennedy.

Kennedy introduced Bill S6070 on Tuesday, but he might have just as hard of a time bringing this to a vote on the Senate floor as he has getting a vote on a statewide ban on microbeads. The Senate majority has refused to bring that issue to a roll call this year.

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