FDA Bans Chemical In Anti-Bacterial Soaps, Orders Them Pulled Off The Shelves

The FDA has made the step of banning anti-bacterial soaps, containing ingredients that have yet to be proven safe by soap companies.

Soaps and cleaners with triclosan and triclocarban will be pulled off the shelves within the next year.  The soap companies have a year to figure out whether less commonly used ingredients, such as benzalkonium chloride, are safe to use or if they will be pulled out as well..

"Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients 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," the FDA said in a statement.

Indeed, triclosan has been found to have adverse effects in animal studies, including reduction in testosterone and estrogen, while functioning as an endocrine disruptor.

"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," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The soap industry now has a year to prove that benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol, three other chemicals present in anti-bacterial soaps, are safe.

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