Finally say goodbye to your ‘antibacterial’ soaps. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they do little or almost nothing to make the soaps better while the industry couldn’t prove they’re safe on consumers. They don’t need to use such soaps as instead of doing better; some of them in many cases even do worse.
Very recently, the FDA has banned the use of triclocarban, triclosan and 17 other harmful chemicals in hand and body washes that are endorsed as being more effectual than normal soaps.
FDA has allowed the companies a year to remove the ingredients from the products or simply remove such products from the market. However, the ban doesn’t apply to the antibacterial hand and body washes used in food service settings and hospitals; it is applicable to consumer products only.
According to the FDA if such soaps make antibacterial claims, they are very likely to contain at least one of the 19 barred ingredients. More info on this can be found on DX.
Here is the list of 19 newly barred chemicals used in antibacterial as well as antiseptic soaps:
- Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkyl aryloxy polyethylene glycol)
- Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
- Poloxamer-iodine complex
- Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
- Povidone-iodine 5% to 10%
- Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
- Phenol (more than 1.5%)
- Phenol (less than 1.5%) 16
- Methylbenzethonium chloride
- Secondary amyltricresols
- Sodium oxychlorosene
- Triple dye
Many companies have already initiated phasing out the chemicals especially after FDA’s issuance of the proposed rule that asked the companies to provide FDA with thorough data on the products’ efficacy and safety in 2013. But not all; on the official website, Dial’s ‘All Day Freshness’ lists only triclocarban as an active used in the soap. The Henkels Co., the owner of Dial though didn’t reply to the email asking for their comment.
Some companies have substituted triclosan with one of three chemicals – benzethonium, benzalkonium chloride and chloroxylenol (PCMX) in their products that claim to have antibacterial properties. The FDA has permitted the companies another year to provide more information on the efficacy and safety of the products.
There are evidences that triclocarban, triclosan as well as other chemicals used in antibacterial soaps can disturb body’s hormone cycles and often cause muscular weakness, according to a veteran attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council that actually asked the FDA to put a ban on the ingredients.
The proposed FDA rule is just a part of a larger effort to encourage consumers to avoid over-the-counter antibacterial soaps and use regular soaps and water. And until now there is no data available supporting the fact that such antibacterial soaps actually works in preventing illness than washing hand or body with normal soap and water. This is what the agency has stated in a press release issued right after the rule was declared.
However, the advocates for the respective industry are not happy with this. They dispute stating that washing hands with antibacterial soaps help reducing the risk of infections beyond that provided by washing with normal soap and water.
According to FDA the information furnished by the companies about 19 chemicals was not enough for the agency to ensure that such chemicals can be generally recognized as effective and safe.