FDA Bans 19 Chemicals Associated with Antibacterial Soap
September 5th, 2017
| Michelle M. Quinn
On Friday, September 1, 2017 the FDA issued a ban on triclosan, triclocarban and 17 other chemicals associated with consumer hand and body washes. The ban does not include those used in hospitals and the food service industry, and does not include hand sanitizers.
Antibacterial soaps have been marketed as more effective than traditional soaps. If a company claims their products have antibacterial properties, they more than likely contain one of the 19 chemicals on the list. Companies have one year to remove the chemicals or take the product off the market. Many companies have already begun to phase out the ingredients.
Triclosan can be found in many places, including clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys. Because of that, exposure to triclosan is greater than previously thought, raising concerns over the seriousness of exposure over a lifetime. Some evidence shows that triclosan, triclocarban and other chemicals may disrupt natural hormone cycles and may cause thyroid disruption and muscle weakness. The FDA is encouraging consumers to skip antibacterial soaps and opt for simple soap and water.
"There's no data demonstrating that over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water," the FDA said in a press release issued shortly after the rule was announced
Chemicals on the FDA banned list include:
- Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
- Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
- Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
- Poloxamer-iodine complex
- Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
- Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
- Methylbenzethonium chloride
- Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
- Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
- Secondary amyltricresols
- Sodium oxychlorosene
- Triple dye
What should you do?
Discontinue use of antibacterial body washes and soaps, and wash with plain soap and water. It’s still one of the most important steps you can take to prevent spreading germs.
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