Antibacterial Soap Safety Continues to be Investigated By FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)continues to evaluate Antibacterial Soap Safety by looking into the safety of popular antibacterial soap ingredient, triclosan. The FDA will determine if the chemical triclosan will continue to be allowed in common household products including soaps and body washes.

The FDA is looking into Antibacterial Soap Safety after a 2007 study conducted by University of Michigan. The study collected data from 30 studies that analyzed the efficacy of antibacterial soaps, and found that triclosan containing products were no more effective at reducing bacteria or preventing illness than regular soap. In fact, studies show that triclosan may actually be harmful to humans, including effecting hormones, increasing the risk of infertility, and cause puberty to start early. However, the chemical is approved for use in toothpaste to help prevent gingivitis, ABC News reports.

Though the safety and effectiveness is being questioned now, the FDA has actually been reviewing the safety of the chemical for more than 40 years. The results of these studies were to be released last year, however, the agency has yet to publish them, and until then product manufactures are able to use the chemical.

How the FDA results could affect the hundreds of products within the household cleaner industry remains to be seen, though American Cleaning Institute spokesman Brian Sansoni told ABC, “The fact is triclosan is safe…has an extensive track record; human health and environmental safety.”

Consumer groups and lawmakers are questioning why the chemical is still being included in cleaning products, especially when the safety of the chemical is uncertain, and science shows it does not “provide any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.” Allison Aiello, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health said, “To me it looks like the risks outweigh any benefit associated with these products right now. At this point, it’s just looking like a superfluous chemical,” the Huffington Post reports. (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/triclosan-safety-antibacterial-soap-safe-fda_n_3202847.html)

Some hospitals and product manufacturers aren’t waiting for the FDA results to be published, and are instead limiting or even eradicating their use. According to the Huffington Post, Kaiser Permanente transitioned to regular soaps and hand sanitizers in 2010 in all of its hospitals, and Johnson & Johnson announced it will be pulling triclosan from all of its products by the end of 2015.

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