World Bulletin / News Desk
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Friday that it was requiring stores to remove antibacterial soaps from shelves, noting that they provide no benefit above regular soap.
The FDA concluded antibacterial soaps could actually help certain strains of bacteria become resistant to medicine. The chemicals used to make soaps antibacterial might also affect human hormones. Overall, the agency said the 19 substances used in soaps for their antibacterial properties, the most popular of which are triclosan and triclocarban, are not more effective than normal soap.
Companies have a year to reformulate or kill their antibacterial soap brands, the FDA said.
“To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven,” the agency said in a statement. “In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.”
The FDA said its decision was based on the fact that manufacturers had not proven if the chemicals used in antibacterial soaps were safe for repeated, daily use. Manufacturers also haven’t proven if antibacterial soaps are more effective than their normal counterparts in preventing the spread of disease.
Handwashing with soap and water, though, is critical, the FDA stressed.
“Following simple handwashing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness at home, at school and elsewhere,” Theresa M. Michele of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products said in a statement. “We can’t advise this enough. It’s simple, and it works.”
Hand sanitizers and sanitary wipes meant to be used without water are not affected by the ban, nor are cleaning products utilized in hospitals or other medical facilities which mostly use alcohol as the primary sanitary agent.