The Food and Drug Administration has announced a proposed rule that would require manufacturers of antibacterial soaps and body products to prove that their products are safe for long-term use and that they are more effective than regular soaps.
Many consumers turn to antibacterial products to prevent the spread of germs, especially during cold and flu season, and there are over 2,000 individual products that contain triclosan and triclocarban, the active ingredients in antibacterial products. But there is a possibility that long-term exposure to those ingredients could have some associated health risks, such as hormonal effects or bacterial resistance. Studies in rats have shown a decrease in thyroid hormones with long-term exposure to antibacterial ingredients.
Companies will have to submit data to support their claims; if they are unable to do so, the products will have to be relabeled or have their formulas changed. With antibacterial products dominating the aisles at stores across the country, this has the potential to impact a lot of products.
Washing your hands regularly is an important step in preventing illness and in avoiding spreading germs to others if you’re sick. So while the FDA continues to investigate, pick your favorite soap and continue to wash your hands regularly!