A program funded by the voter-approved Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is reviewing the potential health risk of several contaminants that could threaten drinking water supplies. One of the contaminants under review is triclosan, which is found in many consumer products, including anti-bacterial soaps.
The Legacy Amendment approved by Minnesota voters in November 2008 provided that minimum of five percent of the fund is targeted to protect drinking water, a portion of which has been allocated to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This funding made it possible for MDH to establish the Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program, which takes a proactive approach to the protection of drinking water through research and assessment of the potential public health risks associated with contaminants of emerging concern.
The CEC program defines a “contaminant of emerging concern” as a chemical that has been released to or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or has the potential to migrate to Minnesota waters, and for which health-based standards either do not exist or need to be updated to reflect new toxicity or occurrence information.
Triclosan is a chemical compound widely used as an antibacterial agent. Triclosan is found in consumer products including some types of liquid soaps, detergents, toothpaste, cutting boards, sponges, textiles, toys, and shower curtains.
To read the entire Minnesota Department of Health report about its work on emerging drinking water contaminants, click on this link.