FDA looking at safety of antibacterial hand soaps

December 17, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule that would require manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps to demonstrate that their products are safe and effective.

 

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule that would require manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps to demonstrate that their products are safe and effective.

The FDA is conducting an ongoing review of the active ingredients in antibacterial soaps to ensure they are safe for long-term daily use and whether they are more effective than plain soap and water for preventing illnesses and the spread of germs, according to a news release.

“Some data suggest that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products - for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) - could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects,” the FDA stated.

The proposed rule does not impact hand sanitizers, wipes or antibacterial products used in healthcare settings. The FDA noted that nearly all soaps labeled as “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” contain at least one of the antibacterial ingredients addressed in the proposed rule.

“Due to consumers’ extensive exposure to the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, we believe there should be a clearly demonstrated benefit from using antibacterial soap to balance any potential risk,” Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the news release.

Also on triclosan:

Minnesota bans triclosan in hand soaps

FDA updates website with triclosan information

Household antimicrobials raise allergy risks