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FDA not so sure “anti-bacterial” soaps are worth it


This news story was published on December 17, 2013.
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ucm378408When you’re buying soaps and body washes, do you reach for the bar or bottle labeled “antibacterial”? Are you thinking that these products, in addition to keeping you clean, will reduce your risk of getting sick or passing on germs to others?
Not necessarily, according to experts at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Every day, consumers use antibacterial soaps and body washes at home, work, school and in other public settings. Especially because so many consumers use them, FDA believes that there should be clearly demonstrated benefits to balance any potential risks.

In fact, there currently is no evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soap products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water, says Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a lead microbiologist at FDA.

Moreover, antibacterial soap products contain chemical ingredients, such as triclosan and triclocarban, which may carry unnecessary risks given that their benefits are unproven.

“New data suggest that the risks associated with long-term, daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits,” Rogers says. There are indications that certain ingredients in these soaps may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and may have unanticipated hormonal effects that are of concern to FDA.

In light of these data, the agency issued a proposed rule on Dec. 16, 2013 that would require manufacturers to provide more substantial data to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. The proposed rule covers only those consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes that are used with water. It does not apply to hand sanitizers, hand wipes or antibacterial soaps that are used in health care settings such as hospitals.

According to the Center for Disease Control, handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. “Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.”

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2 Responses to FDA not so sure “anti-bacterial” soaps are worth it

  1. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    December 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    The chemicals is these soaps are insectacides and long term exposure can cause all kinds of problems in humans. We have been used by these company’s so they can make their fortunes.

  2. Allen

    Allen Reply Report comment

    December 17, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Are the soaps in the hospital better then OTC soaps, even when they’re made by the same company. I’ve seen doctors use the soap in the hospital and then rinse it off with water, whats different. Maybe that’s why there is so much staph infection in the hospital