FDA orders removal of antimicrobials from hand soap
The Food and Drug Administration has ordered the removal of antibacterials from consumer soaps.
According to the FDA, soap producers will have a year from the time of the announcement to take the ingredients out of their products. The ingredients include triclosan and triclocarban. Soap manufacturers are allowed another year to negotiate over less commonly used ingredients like benzalkonium chloride.
“Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections," the FDA said in a statement.
One of the ingredients, tricolosan, is used in 93 percent of liquid products that are labeled “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial,” according to the FDA.
"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," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The new rule only affects hand soaps and body washes. While it hasn’t been proven that triclosan is harmful to people, some animal studies have found that high doses of the chemical can impact hormone function in the body.
The new FDA rule will not affect consumer hand sanitizers, antiseptic products from healthcare settings and antiseptics that are used by food handlers. However, the FDA is also reviewing hand sanitizers and other cleaning products used in hospitals.