Recently, after soap manufacturers failed to show that antibacterial ingredients in cleansers helped prevent illness and stop the spread of infections, the Food and Drug Administration issued a new ruling about these products. Companies will have one year to take out the added ingredients, which include triclosan and triclocarban, NBC News reports.
According to a recent statement by federal health authorities, these common antibacterial chemicals, as well as 17 others on the FDA’s list, weren’t more effective at preventing germs from spreading than good old-fashioned lathering up. “Washing with plain soap and water remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others,” said the FDA.
What’s more, the agency added that companies also failed to demonstrate that these ingredients were safe for long-term daily use. While there’s no proof yet that triclosan is dangerous to humans, some animal studies suggested high doses of the chemical could affect hormone function.
Currently, triclosan is used in 93 percent of liquid products labeled “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial”—a total of almost 2,000 different commercial soaps—meaning this ban will have huge effects on the personal care industry. So far, the FDA’s directive affects only hand soaps and body washes. (Triclosan is also commonly used in toothpastes, hand sanitizers and antiseptic products used in health care and food handling settings.)
To learn more about how antibacterial soaps may be contributing to the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, click here.
To see the full list of antibacterial chemicals on the FDA’s list, click here.