The FDA said over-the-counter consumer antiseptic hand products and antibacterial body washes can no longer be marketed, in a press conference on September 2.
“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 Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in the FDA press release.
When most people think of washing their hands, soap and water are the first things to come to mind, antibacterial soap, to be specific. Although most would think the word “antibacterial” would be a good thing, the FDA thinks otherwise.
The antibacterial soap industry was told they had a year to prove the effectiveness of antibacterial soap last year. None of the previous studies showed results, and the FDA claims that normal soap is just as effective at ridding hands of germs as any antibacterial soap is.
Not only is antibacterial soap ineffective, it also contains two harmful chemicals that public officials say could negatively affect children’s hormones. The two chemicals, triclosan and triclocarban, are also linked to cancer in a study with mice. Antibacterial soap can also cause humans to become resistant to antibiotics.
Hand sanitizer will not be banned anytime soon, though. Since hand sanitizer is 60 percent alcohol, it is already antibacterial. Some chemicals in sanitizer have not proven to be safe just yet, so there is a possibility of it being banned in the coming years.
Hand washing is still extremely important and one of the most effective ways to keep from getting sick, but some germs that soaps claimed to be killing are good for the environment. Just because antibacterial soaps will not be for sale, hygiene and cleanliness is still an important factor in staying healthy.