Advertisement

FDA Bans Antibacterial Soaps

FDA Bans Antibacterial Soaps

There’s no evidence antibacterial soaps are safe or effective, according to the FDA.

Think antibacterial hand soap is the best way to suds up? You may want to think again. Nineteen ingredients in over-the-counter antibacterial soaps, including the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban, can no longer be sold, following a U.S. Food and Drug Administration review.

The review also found that the ingredients in antibacterial soap don’t prevent illness or infection any more effectively than plain soap and water, or that they’re safe for everyday use. In fact, some data suggests that long-term use of antibacterial products may contribute to bacterial resistance or issues with thyroid function and the endocrine system, including the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.

Manufacturers of antibacterial products containing the 19 banned ingredients have one year to comply with the ruling and stop production.

Three additional ingredients will come under review in the next year. Companies using the chemicals benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol in consumer products will have one year to research and provide safety and effectiveness data to the FDA. Until then, the companies are permitted to continue producing and selling products containing the ingredients.

The FDA’s ruling doesn’t apply to antibacterial products used in doctor’s offices or hospitals, or alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels or wipes.

So, what’s the most effective way to clean your hands? Wet your hands with clean, running water and lather up with plain soap (don’t forget to clean under your fingernails!) for at least 20 seconds—or about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

If you’re on the go, stick to alcohol-based hand sanitizers and avoid products containing tricolosan and triclocarban, as well as products labeled “antimicrobial” or “antibacterial.”

This content was published on September 2, 2016.

What is an antibacterial soap?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Antibacterial soap is a personal hygiene product that may help reduce bacteria levels on the ski...
More Answers
Why does soap leave my skin feeling dry?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
While soap can effectively remove dirt and germs from your skin, it can also remove the natural oils...
More Answers
What kind of soap works best for dry skin?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Traditional soap can be harsh and can strip skin of essential oils and further aggravate dry skin. F...
More Answers
Is natural soap really natural?
Arthur W. Perry, MDArthur W. Perry, MD
Have you heard the ads for "natural soap?" Do you think that's possible? Well, I've never seen a soa...
More Answers