Although antibacterial soaps have been marketed as a vital step in fighting bacteria and preventing disease, recent studies have shown these soaps may not be helping us as much as we think. Based off these studies and the lack of evidence supporting the benefits of using antibacterial soaps, the FDA has made an announcement that it will prevent “over-the-counter antiseptic wash” from being marketed and sold.
The main issue that has the FDA concerned is that companies have failed to provide proof that antibacterial soaps containing triclosan and triclocarban are more effective at killing germs than just plain soap and water. On top of this, there have been some findings that suggest antibacterial soap may have more dangers than positive effects when used daily and for a long period. That’s because heavy use of antibiotic products can cause some bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant, potentially leading to difficult-to-treat infections.
It is the FDA’s job to protect the public’s health by ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the drugs, vaccines, and biological products used by humans. So with the public’s best interest in mind, the FDA does not currently see the benefit in allowing certain antibacterial soaps containing 19 specific active ingredients to remain on the market.
The FDA has given antibacterial soap companies ample opportunity to prove their case and provide data to rebut the concerns of the organization. But until companies can provide such resources or find new antibacterial ingredients/formulas that will benefit the consumer, FDA regulation of antibacterial soap will remain in effect.
Antibacterial Soaps Are Out, but Handwashing Is Still Important
The FDA still continues to stress the importance of washing hands as a vital way to prevent the spread of germs. And the new regulation on antibacterial soaps does not include hand sanitizers, wipes, or antibacterial products used in healthcare settings since many of these items contain a more potent level of antibacterial ingredients and have shown sufficient evidence for their effectiveness in disease prevention.
Antibacterial soaps may not be recommended, but hand washing is still vital.
Considering the amount of things we touch with our hands throughout the day and how often we touch our face, mouth, and eyes with those same hands, washing with soap and water or the use of FDA-approved antibacterial products is still very important in preventing the spread of germs and disease.