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FDA says there is no proof ingredients in antibacterial soaps work


The Food and Drug Administration has banned antibacterial soaps with specific ingredients from being marketed.

According to a Friday news release, the ban comes because “manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.”

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The final rule applies to hand soap and body wash products that have “one or more of 19 specific active ingredients, including the most commonly used ingredients – triclosan and triclocarban,” the release said.

The ban does not include hand sanitizers or hand wipes, or products used in healthcare.

“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,” Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in the release. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

According to the FDA, the manufacturers of antibacterial hand and body wash “did not provide the necessary data to establish safety and effectiveness for the 19 active ingredients addressed in this final rulemaking.”

The FDA said data provided was not adequate enough for it to determine that the ingredients were Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective, the phrase used by the agency to indicate products that have been demonstrated as safe to use according to the its intended use.

The release said some companies have already begun removing the banned ingredients from their products.

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