FDA bans antibacterial soaps

2 minute read

Over-the-counter antiseptic handwash containing triclosan and triclocarban has been banned by the FDA


Over-the-counter antiseptic hand wash containing triclosan and triclocarban have been banned by the FDA, and Australian regulators are now deciding whether to follow its example

“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 US government regulator said.

“In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term,” a spokesperson said.

Alongside those two common ingredients, another 17 have been banned from OTC consumer hand wash in the US.

Hand sanitisers and hand wipes still have the green light to market and sell their products.

Antibacterial products used in hospitals and other medical settings also remain unaffected by the ruling.

Research suggesting that ingredients used in soaps, such as triclosan and triclocarban, could cause bacterial resistance or hormonal disturbances prompted the FDA to begin investigating in 2013.

Concerns had also arisen about the potential for chemicals such as triclosan to mimic the action of oestrogen, both in humans and in the broader ecosystem.

Manufacturers were given an opportunity to provide more evidence their products killed bacteria more effectively than plain soap and water, but were unable – or chose not – to do so.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health said they would review the information to see whether any action was required in the Australian context.

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