Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Updates on phenolics

If you first heard of triclosan by reading The Blob, you're about as on the ball as me. Which is to say, not very much.  I'm not the only one to react to the possibility of an endocrine downside of this ubiquitous anti-fungal agent.  The State of Minnesota has banned the compound but only with effect from 1st Jan 2017 30 months away.  That's a bit wet, no? If there is a clear and present danger, then surely it should be banned now. If it's not hazardous then stop posturing about it. If you're not sure then do some science to find out! It's a long time since responsible public authorities adopted the Precautionary Principle by which you try to err in parallel to the Hippocratic Oath "primum non nocere" above all do no harm and if there is a hint of harm you stop doing/making whatever it is. I'll open a book on whether triclosan is banned in 2/3rd of the US states before 2/3rd of US States legalise same-sex marriage.

I suggested that triclosan looks a bit like BPA (bisphenol-A) the plasticiser that we add to baby's bottles so that infants can get a good slug of hormone analogues before they learn to speak.  Informed consent Big Pharma style:
"Do you mind if your milk has a little BPA in it?"
"wurble bup bup"
"Can't hear you clearly"
"Bloo bloo"
"You're not objecting? We'll leave it in, so"
I think my position is that we don't want to get hysterical about BPA yet. Nevertheless, in January 2014 the European Food Safety Authority agreed to slash the allowable levels of food intake from a daily 50 micrograms to 5 micrograms per kg body weight.  The EFSA's position is that the public health risk (on our reproductive and nervous systems) is low because there isn't much BPA actually in the environment. Lowering the limits ensures that the level is kept low.  Precautionary Principle again. Good show EFSA!

Secrets for a long life I: Before you start worrying about BPA, you should stop using your car.

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