Just recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they will no longer allow the production of antibacterial soap.
In particular, the soap companies have been given one year to remove 19 ingredients off their products, including triclocarban and triclosan – or they can simply remove the product from the market.
As a regular customer, you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about the ingredients that you have been using for almost all your life, especially if you’re a huge fan of antibacterial products.
Most of us think that any product with the label “antibacterial” can help reduce our chances of getting sick, acquiring infection, and spreading germs. But this new implementation shows that we have been so wrong all this time.
Why Did the FDA Ban Antibacterial Soap?
There are a number of reasons why the FDA ordered companies to stop the use of the ingredients in their products, which included the following:
- According to the FDA, there is no proof that antibacterial soaps can prevent illness better than simply using plain soap and water.
- The benefits of using them haven’t been proven as well.
- There have also been reports that the banned 19 ingredients in antibacterial products may have a negative effect on our health.
- The manufacturers have also failed to prove that the ingredients that were banned are safe for everyday use for a long period of time.
Antibacterial soap made its first public appearance in 1984 and since then, a lot of consumers have taken the bait that it can keep them germ-free with lower illness risk. Even health professionals supported the use of these products for proper sanitation. But there will always be critics and these critics looked for clues that these products aren’t as good as everyone thinks.
What Science Really Says
There have been a number of studies that linked antibacterial soaps to growth of “superbugs” which are bacteria that may be resistant to agents designed to fight these microbes. This is definitely a big problem because some bacteria can run rampant and they are easily transformed into something dangerous and possibly life-threatening. Unfortunately, available medication may not be able to treat the patients.
Triclosan have always been an ingredient that inspired debate among health professionals. According to a study published in the Nature journal, triclosan can create an environment that allows bacteria to resist medication and even mutate.
The FDA’s rule encourages people to use plain soap and water in washing their hands and disinfecting. The problem now is that the final rule only covers antibacterial soaps as well as other products that are used with water. This leaves the question why other products that don’t require water, such as hand wipes or sanitizers, are still not banned and will still be widely available.