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FDA in a Bit of a Lather Over Safety and Effectiveness of Antibacterial Soaps — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 17, 2013

FDA in a Bit of a Lather Over Safety and Effectiveness of Antibacterial Soaps

By Kristin J. Kelley

Antibacterial hand soaps and body washes might not be any more effective at preventing the spread of germs than plain soap, says the FDA, and long-term exposure to the active ingredients in these products (e.g., triclosan) could pose risks for bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.

The agency has proposed a rule that would require manufacturers to either demonstrate the long-term safety and efficacy of such products or reformulate and/or rebrand them. The rule, which will be available for public comment for 180 days, does not affect antibacterial products used in healthcare settings. Manufacturers will have 1 year to submit data.

Something to keep in mind while shopping for those holiday-scented stocking stuffers. (Winter Candy Apple, anyone?)

Reader Comments (2)

Martha Dickens, MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Baptist Nutrition and Bariatric Center

Marketing has changed our way of life; we have been suckered into the advertising hysteria and fear mongering. Everything from the 'scourge' of dandruff to present day germaphobia. Outside of the hospital setting, I don't use the alcohol antiseptics being marketed for the newest phobia du jour. I may have picked up a URI or two from the shopping cart I didn't sanitize, but could have just as likely walked through an aisle someone coughed or sneezed in. My immunity is the better for it. I hardly ever get sick now and compared to a sister-in-law who is 'hook, line and sinker' fearful of everything she reads on the internet and takes more supplements and other 'snake oils' than anyone I know and is now allergic to everything.

Koonce, RN Other, Surgery, General

Has the FDA addressed the triclosan in some of the sutures? All of the plus line sutures have triclosan.

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