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article imageFDA orders removal of antibacterials from consumer soaps

By Karen Graham     Sep 2, 2016 in Health
It's time to say good-bye to those antibacterial soaps and washes says the FDA. In a final ruling issued September 2, 2016, the federal agency said that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products will no longer be allowed to be sold.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after asking soap manufacturers for a number of years to prove the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps, tried one last time, in 2013, issuing a "proposed rule. The agency gave soapmakers one more year to show that adding chemicals to their product did anything to cut down on bacteria.
Well, the FDA made their final ruling public on Friday, "establishing that over-the-counter (OTC) consumer antiseptic wash products containing certain active ingredients can no longer be marketed."
Companies will now have one year to remove 19 specific active ingredients, including triclosan and triclocarban from their products because they have not been found effective in killing germs, and are really no better than just using soap and water, says the agency. The ruling does not affect consumer hand “sanitizers” or wipes, or antibacterial products used in health care settings.
Soap manufacturers will be given an additional year to prove the effectiveness of benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol, three different chemicals used as antibacterials. The FDA did say that many manufacturers are already in the process of removing the specified ingredients from their products.
Interestingly, CTV News also reported on the FDA ruling, citing Health Canada's ruling on Triclosan. Health Canada says, "triclosan does not pose a health risk to most Canadians, including children, pregnant women, and seniors. The levels of triclosan to which we are exposed are considered too low to be harmful."
The agency does go on to say that triclosan is an environmental hazard because it ends up in the environment after being washed down the drain, affecting plants and animals in lakes, streams, and rivers. Health Canada also recommends using plain old soap and water, too, but you will find this advice at the bottom of their web page.
Triclosan is used in 93 percent of liquid products labeled "antibacterial" or "antimicrobial." That is at least 2,000 different products. There is also some evidence that long-term use of triclosan may even be harmful, just as Health Canada has pointed out.
The FDA and CDC agree that soaps don't need antibacterials to be effective. "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," the FDA said.
More about Antibacterial soaps, Fda, no scientific proof, soap and water, Triclosan
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