For many years, there have been a number of antibacterial soaps in the market that claim to be able to fight bacteria. However, antibacterial soaps might soon be gone from the market in the United States, thanks to recent findings of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The ruling of the FDA has shown that antibacterial soaps have failed to show conclusive proof that they could provide better health benefits than ordinary soap. According to the Guardian, antibacterial soap manufacturers have failed to show any data concerning long-term benefits of antibacterial soap. They have also not shown that their soaps are fully effective in preventing illness or infection.
"We have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's center for evaluation and research, said.She added that there is data that suggests some of the antibacterial ingredients might do more harm.
The ruling has shown that there are 19 chemical compounds that have little to no health benefit among antibacterial soaps. These compounds include triclocarbon and triclosan. The FDA has said it is giving manufacturers one year to change their products, or else they would be pulled off the market.
The issue with antibacterial soaps is that they have antiseptic chemicals, but the levels contained are too low to be effective, as noted by Science News for Students. These low levels of antiseptic chemicals found might make bacteria that hasn't been killed be resistant to such chemicals. Bacteria that have become resistant to them could have the possibility of sharing this trait to other bacteria.
Bacteria that are resistant to antiseptic chemicals would be harder to kill and would need a more powerful amount of antiseptic chemicals just to beat them off. Essentially what comes out then are super bacteria, ones that are resistant to ordinary treatment.
Triclosan is one of the antiseptic chemicals named in the ruling. Studies have shown that triclosan can disrupt health in both humans and animals. The University of Chicago has also found that triclosan exposure can put fetuses at risk. Another study has found that overuse of it could lead to antibiotic resistance.
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