Iowa Senate panel OKs bill that would prohibit sale of cleaning products with sanitizing agent

A Senate panel on Monday advanced a bill that would ban the sale in Iowa of cleaning products that contain a certain sanitizing agent found in many soaps and deodorants.

The bill would prohibit a person from selling any cleaning products that contain triclosan for the purpose of sanitizing or hand or body cleansing. There would be an exemption to individual products with federal approval, such as toothpastes.

Members of a human resources subcommittee signed off on the bill, which will be sent to a full committee for review.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, is sponsor of the bill and a member of the panel. He said there's an overuse of triclosan in various products and its effects are still being understood.

"It may represent a public health risk in the making," he said.

The Food and Drug Administration said in 2013 there is no evidence that anti-bacterial soap cleansers with ingredients such as triclosan were more effective than regular soap. But the agency said it does not have sufficient evidence to recommend changing consumer use.

Studies have raised concerns that triclosan can disrupt hormones critical for reproduction and development in lab animals. It can also contribute to the development of resistant bacteria, according to studies.

The FDA said triclosan is not known to be hazardous to humans.

Many groups have registered as undecided about the bill. Scott Sundstrom, a lobbyist for the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, asked about the repercussions of a retailer accidentally selling a product with triclosan.

Bolkcom said he would investigate inquiries about the realities of applying such a bill, which would not go into effect until 2017.

Minnesota last year became the first state to ban triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products.