You may have long believed that antibacterial hand soap is good for you (after all, they’re marketed to be better than regular soaps and most claim to kill 99-99.9% of germs), but the FDA says, actually that’s not true.
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In a ruling today, the FDA has officially banned the sale of antibacterial soaps containing certain ingredients, saying that not only is it no more effective than ordinary soap and water—but that it might not actually be safe in the long run.
The agency named 19 chemicals that must be removed from soap products over the next year, including triclosan and triclocarban, which are commonly found in liquid hand soaps. According to NPR, Theresa Michele, Director of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products, said on a conference call to reporters, “If the product makes antibacterial claims, chances are pretty good that it contains one of these ingredients.”
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According to the Environmental Working Group, triclosan is a toxic chemical ingredient that can cause hormone disruption in people, leading to reproductive, thyroid and developmental concerns. The EWG has long warned against triclosan and in 2008, found the chemical in blood and urine of 20 teen girls.
Other banned chemicals include: loflucarban, Fluorosalan, Hexachlorophene, Hexylresorcinol, Iodine complex, Phenol and Triple dye.
Although these ingredients will soon disappear, the terminology “antibacterial soaps” may not. After all, according to the FDA, all soap—whether or not it’s marketed as such—is antibacterial.
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