The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of soaps containing certain antibacterial chemicals, citing a lack of evidence showing that the soaps are safe for long-term use or that they are more effective than ordinary soap and water.
“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,” says Janet Woodcock, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term.”
The FDA took action against 19 different chemicals widely used in consumer hand washes and soaps, the most common ones being triclosan and triclocarban. According to the New York Times, “Studies in animals have shown that triclosan and triclocarban can disrupt the normal development of the reproductive system and metabolism, and health experts warn that their effects could be the same in humans.”
The FDA maintains that “washing with plain soap and running water remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others.”
Read the full ruling on the FDA’s website at www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm517478.htm.