Antibacterial soaps possibly dangerous, says U.S. regulator
Consumers soon will not be able to buy antibacterial hand soaps, products federal officials are describing as unneeded and possibly dangerous.
The United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said: “There isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.”
By September 2017, the FDA order says, the banned antibacterial soaps and body washes should be removed from store shelves. The officials say the products contain 19 antimicrobial chemicals, most commonly triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps).
“… Some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, an FDA official. Those health risks include hormonal effects and bacterial resistance. Some scientists fear the products help cause certain cancers. The rule exempts hand sanitizers and wipes and such products used by the health care industry.
Antibacterial products usually have the word “antibacterial” on the label, the FDA says, and a Drug Facts label on a product is a sign it contains antibacterial ingredients.
To prepare for the federal ban, some manufacturers have started removing the banned chemicals from their products. If soap and water are unavailable, the FDA says, consumers should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
The 19 banned chemicals: Cloflucarban; Fluorosalan; Hexachlorophene; Hexylresorcinol; Iodophors, which are iodine-containing ingredients; Iodine complex, which is ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate; Iodine complex of phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol; Nonylphenoxypoly, or ethyleneoxy, ethanoliodine; Poloxamer, an iodine complex of Povidone-iodine five per cent to 10 per cent; Undecoylium chloride iodine complex; Methylbenzethonium chloride; Phenol greater than 1.5 per cent; Phenol less than 1.5 per cent; Secondary amyltricresols; Sodium oxychlorosene; Tribromsalan; Triclocarban; Triclosan, and Triple dye.