FDA Bans Anti-Bacterial Soap Chemicals, Says They Are Useless And Possibly A Danger
When you’re shopping for liquid soap, scanning the row upon row of jolly, bubbly colors and bright labels, what do you look for?
For most people, picking up something that says anti-bacterial on the label is fairly standard practice–after all, who wants bacteria on their hands or body?
The truth is that bacteria are vital to our health, some of them anyway. they help protect our immune system and perform many other vital functions.
However, in a rare moment of standing up to big corporate interests, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will no longer allow the supposedly anti-bacterial chemicals, known as triclosan and triclocarban, to be sold in soap.
For one thing, the FDA has said that marketing antibacterial soaps as somehow cleaner and more sanitary than regular soap is simply false.
“There’s no data demonstrating that these drugs provide additional protection from diseases and infections, said Theresa M. Michele, MD, of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products. “Using these products might give people a false sense of security.”
Michele went on to reiterate that plain old soap and water do just fine.
“Following simple handwashing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness at home, at school and elsewhere,” she said.
“We can’t advise this enough. It’s simple and it works.”
Aside from false advertising, the other concern is that those antibacterial chemicals can be harmful to human and environmental health.
Triclosan and triclocarban have been shown to disrupt hormone cycles, as well as harm the environment. Triclosan is particularly troubling, as it breaks down into cancer-causing dioxins.
So these chemicals at long last have been banned from consumer products, although manufacturers have a year to comply with the directive. Be aware though that restaurants and hospitals will still be able to use them even after the ban goes into effect.
Also good to know is that these products will still be on store shelves until the year is up. So read the label carefully before buying.
While it is a relief that the FDA has finally stepped up and put a stop to the sale of these dangerous chemicals, what is simultaneously infuriating about the whole debacle is that the dangers of these chemicals have been known for years, and manufacturers simply declined to remove them from their formulae.
When it takes a supine, toothless agency like today’s FDA to say enough, you know these are truly bad chemicals–that we’ve all been happily scrubbing with for years, without a clue as to how dangerous they really are.