Are Antibacterial Soaps Really That Effective? The FDA Isn't So Convinced

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Dec 16, 2013 in Defective Products

In an ongoing review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that ingredients in antibacterial soap are safe and effective, a new rule has been proposed that would require manufacturers to demonstrate how their products are safer and more effective than soap and water in preventing infection and the spread of bacteria.

Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water," the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.

According to the FDA there is no evidence that antibacterial chemicals used in liquid soaps and washes help prevent the spread of germs. In fact, some evidence indicates that they may pose health risks as scientists believe that they can interfere with hormone levels.

Triclosan is a popular antibacterial chemical that can be found in soap, body washes, and other antibacterial products. Studies of the chemical in animals has suggested that its use could increase the risk of infertility, early puberty, and other hormone-related problems.

In 2007 researchers at the University of Michigan compiled data from 30 studies on the use of antibacterial soaps and found that soaps with triclosan were no more effective than plain soap.

A review and ruling on the chemical was supposed to be released in 2012 however the FDA thus far has declined to comment due to ongoing litigation on the chemical.

The FDA and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been collaborating on issues related to triclosan and are reviewing the effects of the chemical from two different perspectives. The FDA is primarily focused though on the effects the chemical has on consumers who use it on a regular basis.

Until the FDA and EPA release their findings consumers may wish to stick with traditional soap and water which is still effective in preventing the spread of germs and preventing illness.

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