Those antibacterial soaps that tend to fly off the shelves in grocery stores and pharmacies? They might not be around much longer.
The Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it has banned more than a dozen chemicals used in antibacterial soaps on the grounds that manufacturers haven’t shown that they actually kill germs — or that they’re even safe to use.
That may mean that antibacterial soaps aren’t any more effective than regular soap — and that, in fact, they may be harmful.
The ruling means that products with 19 different antibacterial ingredients — the most popular of which are triclosan and triclocarban — must be reformulated or removed from stores within a year.
In a Friday morning news conference, Theresa Michele of the FDA’s Division of Non-prescription Drug Products told press:
“Manufacturers did not demonstrate that they are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.”
Michele also noted that about 40% of the soaps on the commercial market contain one or more of the 19 banned ingredients. That’s more than 2,100 products.
Michele explained how cleaners with the 19 ingredients could actually increase bacterial resistance and make it harder to fight illness, and those ingredients may also cause hormonal changes. She added that the FDA had given manufacturers plenty of time to prove the effectiveness of the products.
The FDA has been concerned with the safety of triclosan and other antibacterial ingredients since 2005, particularly the effects that long-term exposure to the ingredients may have. The Environmental Protection Agency is also in the process of reviewing the ingredients in question.
Contradicting the FDA’s allegations, the American Cleaning Institute released a statement on Friday that claimed antibacterial hand soaps are safe and more effective than their regular counterparts:
“Antibacterial soaps are critical to public health because of the importance hand hygiene plays in the prevention of infection. Washing the hands with an antiseptic soap can help reduce the risk of infection beyond that provided by washing with non-antibacterial soap and water.”
The FDA has not yet responded to the ACI’s statement.
Source: independent journal
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