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FDA Finally Bans Antibacterial Soaps Because They’re Not Better, Cleaner, Or Safer Than Regular Soap

The Food and Drug Administration has washed its hands of antibacterial soaps that contain certain active ingredients because manufacturers have not demonstrated their long-term safety and effectiveness.

Antibacterial soaps have been around for generations though have never been quite as popular as they are today. As the world slowly but surely becomes more aware of the importance of flawless hygiene for the sake of public health and wellbeing, it’s becoming the everyday norm to seek and use products that go far beyond dirt removal and right into the killing of germs and bacteria.

Many of us are afraid of getting the flu, so we want to incorporate washing with antibacterial soap. While using an antibacterial soap from the drug store can help, harsh chemicals that are often found in these soaps can over dry your skin and may be linked to more serious problems.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.

Mr. Poshi and Mr. Divone created the first modern day antibacterial soap by adding a chemical called Triclosan to their soap.

Triclosan, similar in its uses and mechanism of action to triclocarban, is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in consumer products, including toothpaste, soaps, detergents, toys, and surgical cleaning treatments. Its efficacy as an antimicrobial agent, the risk of antimicrobial resistance, and its possible role in disrupted hormonal development remain controversial.

Studies have increasingly linked triclosan (and its chemical cousin triclocarban), to a range of adverse health and environmental effects from skin irritation, endocrine disruption, bacterial and compounded antibiotic resistance, to the contamination of water and its negative impact on fragile aquatic ecosystems.

The US Food and Drug Administration continued to deem it safe and effective.

Antibacterial soaps kill bacteria and microbes – but so do plain soap and water. An FDA advisory committee found that using antibacterial soaps provides no benefits over plain soap and water. The FDA banned triclosan, triclocarban and 17 other antibacterial ingredients in hand soaps, effective September 2017.

An epidemiologist from the University of North Carolina who published a review on several studies of Triclosan tests suggested that Triclosan does not provide a benefit.

Because Triclosan is now in countless products, research has discovered it was washing down drains and building up in lakes and streams.

The FDA has also banned 18 other antibacterial ingredients like Triclosan in hopes that the chemicals will stop building up in the environment, and harming human health:

  • Cloflucarban ,Fluorosalan
  • Hexachlorophene, Hexylresorcinol
  • Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylenesorbitanmonolaurate)
  • Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
  • Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
  • Poloxamer-iodine complex
  • Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
  • Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
  • Methylbenzethonium chloride
  • Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
  • Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
  • Secondary amyltricresols
  • Sodium oxychlorosene
  • Tribromsalan
  • Triclocarban
  • Triclosan
  • Triple dye


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