Greens asked to co-fund EPA investigation

(Getty / file)
(Getty / file)

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) agrees an investigation is warranted into common household chemical triclosan, but there's a catch - it's asking the Greens to help fund it.

MP Catherine Delahunty paid the EPA a $500 fee to see if there were grounds for the chemical to be reassessed, and last month it agreed that a more in-depth investigation is warranted.

The EPA told Ms Delahunty it would cost $200,000 and in a bizarre move, asked her to co-fund the project. It wants her to pay a quarter of the cost, which equates to $50,000.

"If they're not funded properly to do it, the Government needs to step up and fund them because this is really important. It's about public safety and keeping everybody safe," she says.

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal compound used in hundreds of products ranging from soaps and hand gels, to paints and even plastics and leather.

"It's very toxic to the environment and also people's health - it affects our hormones," says Ms Delahunty.

"One of the worst risks is that the use of this chemical in soap creates antibiotic resistance and that means we can't use antibiotics effectively. We need to get this out of household products."

The United States has banned triclosan from being used in soaps, but that's where it stops. It's still allowed in all other products, although the FDA is investigating whether a wider ban is needed.

Ms Delahunty has been campaigning for a ban on triclosan for years, and in 2013 successfully convinced Kiwi firm Health Basics to remove it from all its products.

"This chemical is easily replaced in soaps by other safer products," she says.