Antibacterial risks outweigh health benefits

When it comes to fighting germs, old fashioned soap and water has proven to outweigh daily and long term health risks.  On September 2, 2016, the FDA announced their ruling to remove active ingredient triclosan and triclocarban from marketed antibacterial hand and body washes. Antibacterial chemicals have been under scrutiny about their safety and effectiveness since 1978.

Triclosan is the active ingredient in liquid soap commonly used in medical settings by surgeons. Triclosan can be found in a variety of products including liquid soaps, hand sanitizers and wipes, acne cleansers, undergarments, cookware, toothpaste, mouthwash and more. Triclocarban is commonly found in antibacterial bar soaps.

“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 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.”

In 2013, the FDA made its proposal for the removal of triclosan and triclocarban unless companies could prove health benefits outweighed any risks. Many companies including Bath and Body Works, LLC quietly removed the chemicals from their products. Some manufactures replaced the triclosan with benzethonium chloride, benzalkonium chloride and chloroxylenol which is still under FDA investigation.

The FDA ruling gives manufactures one year to remove and reformulate soap products containing active antibacterial ingredients.  The ruling does not affect other products such as makeup and toothpaste. Colgate-Palmolive currently sales the only toothpaste containing triclosan, Colgate Total in the United States after successfully showing the FDA their health benefits for severe gingivitis in 1997.

Seek out the alternatives

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) discovered that triclosan could be found in the urine, breast milk, hemoglobin and contributed to antibiotic-resistant infections. If your current or favorite cleanser contains harmful or FDA banned ingredients there are alternatives that are natural, safe and effective.  Rita Pardo owner of Naturally Me and You provides natural household products including disinfecting deodorizing tabs, natural wood polish and carpet deodorizing powder, safe for the family including pets. If you’re on the go and soap use is limited, grab a couple of Rita’s hand sanitizers for your purse and travel kit to help keep germs at bay.

What do you think about the FDA’s proposal? Please share your thoughts.