On September 2nd, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned antibacterial soaps containing triclosan as well as eighteen other chemicals. Triclosan is a broad spectrum antimicrobial, meaning it kills a range of microorganisms such as the bacteria found on dirty hands.
Companies marketed antibacterial soaps as being more effective than regular soaps, but studies have shown that isn’t the case. These soaps are not only less effective than plain soap and water, but they may also be causing hormonal disruption. They have been linked to bacterial resistance, making it harder to treat infections. Due to minimal proof regarding their safety and effectiveness, the FDA is demanding companies to remove all soaps from the shelves that contain these chemicals. However, triclosan and its chemical relatives will remain in other products such as toothpaste, household cleaners, and even fabrics and plastics.
Concerning these products, the FDA has stated that effectiveness has been sufficiently proven, and thus, no action will be taken. The effects of triclosan will continue to be assessed, as consumer groups push for its total removal.
By Rebecca Marcus