FDA Bans Antibacterials from Consumer Soaps

FDA Bans Antibacterials from Consumer Soaps

Many popular antibacterial soaps won’t have a spot on store shelves, with an FDA ban on several ingredients found in the suds.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that triclosan and triclocarban will no longer be allowed. They have been connected to conditions such as hormone disruption, bacterial resistance, and liver cancer.

It’s been a long-awaited ruling on the issue, with the FDA finally stopping companies from marketing antibacterial hand and body washes with triclosan or triclocarban.

“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,” said the FDA in a statement.

The ban is limited to products that need water, making both hand sanitizers and wipes marketable sanitizing merchandise. Even before the announcement, companies have already started taking the ingredients out of their soaps, from a combination of public pressure and safety.

As early as 2013, the FDA was inquiring to soap manufacturers to support their inclusion of triclosan or triclocarban. Data suggested the substances could increase risks of bacterial resistance and hormonal problems. For companies to continue to be able to use these ingredients, they’d have to prove their inclusion made a better product at preventing infection the products without them.

The FDA says the companies failed to demonstrate these products were safe or effective for 19 different ingredients.

“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,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement.

“In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

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