FDA Restricts Antibacterial Soaps

In a final rule released Friday, September 2, The Food and Drug Administration has ordered manufacturers to remove several compounds from soaps that are claimed to fight germs, on the grounds that the claims are misleading.

According to a statement put out by the FDA:

“Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients 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. Some manufacturers have already started removing these ingredients from their products.”

Companies have one year to remove two offending ingredients, inclusing triclosan and triclocarban. They will still have an extra year to negotiate over the use of other additives such as benzalkonium chloride. Triclosan in particular is used in 93 percent of products labeled “antibacterial” or antimicrobial” – 2,000 total products – according to the FDA.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said:

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water. In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

Read more here.

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