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Antibacterial Soaps May Pose Health Risks

If you look in your kitchen or bathroom, chances are pretty good that you have a product labeled “antibacterial.” Antibacterial soaps and washes are used by millions of Americans to help prevent the spread of germs. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now claiming that there is no evidence to support that antibacterial soaps are more effective in preventing the spread of illness than plain old soap and water. Not only that, but antibacterial soaps may actually pose some health risks to us.


andtriclocarban are the most common active ingredients in soap products marked “antibacterial” or “deodorant.” Studies show that exposure to these ingredients over the long term may cause bacterial resistance and adverse hormonal effects. One study found worrisome effects of triclosan on rats. Triclosan appeared to interfere with thyroid regulation. While this has not been tested on people, there are concerns that long-term exposure to triclosan may cause infertility, artificially-advanced puberty, obesity and even cancer, according to an article by Joseph Stromberg of the Smithsonian.

In light of this, the FDA is proposing a rule that would require manufacturers of this type of product to demonstrate the safety of them over long-term daily use. Manufacturers will also have to prove that their product is more effective than soap and water in preventing the spread of certain infections and illness. If they don’t, the proposed rule would require them to reformulate the product to remove the antibacterial active ingredients or simply remove the antibacterial claim from the label.


The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.