FDA Issues Final Rule on Antibacterial Soaps

The rule removes triclosan and triclocarban from over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body washes. Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said "some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term."

The FDA recently issued a final rule prohibiting over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products containing certain active ingredients from being marketed. Companies will no longer be able to produce products with these ingredients because manufacturers were unable to prove that the ingredients were safe for long-term use and more effective than plain soap and water in terms of preventing illness. Some manufacturers have already started removing the ingredients from their products.

In total there are 19 ingredients that must be removed, but triclosan and triclocarban are the most commonly used. It's important to note that this rule does not affect consumer hand "sanitizers" or wipes.

"Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). "In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term."

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