The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has ruled that the anti-bacterial pesticide triclosan is toxic and bio-accumulative and will therefore be phased out for hygienic use in favour of more suitable alternatives. The pesticide is commonly used in personal care products such as toothpastes and liquid soaps.

The move has prompted US pressure group Beyond Pesticides to renew its plea to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to remove the chemical from the consumer market in North America.

“We applaud this step to protect public health and the environment,” said Jay Feldman, executive director, Beyond Pesticides. 

Several manufacturers, including Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive, have already taken steps to reformulate their products.