FDA Bans 19 Chemicals in Antibacterial Soaps
Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 at 7:00 am
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned 19 of the 22 chemicals that are used in antibacterial soaps. It is strange to think about, but it appears that the some of the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, that we thought were helping us to stay healthy, could actually harm our health.
On September 2, 2016, the FDA issued a final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. The final rule stated that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products that contained certain active ingredients, can no longer be marketed.
The FDA says the manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients were safe for long-term daily use, and they did not demonstrate that soaps with those ingredients were more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of diseases. In other words, antibacterial washes are not really more effective than soap and water at preventing the spread of germs.
The chemicals that the FDA banned 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
The FDA started considering the chemicals in antibacterial soaps in 2013. Since then, data suggested that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients (for example, triclosan and triclocarban) used in antibacterial products could pose health risks such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.
Triclosan has been found in human milk and dolphins’ blood, and most freshwater streams are contaminated with it. The chemical kills “bad” bacteria that can cause harm to humans, but, unfortunately, it can also kill “good” bacteria that humans need. It is possible that triclosan is encouraging germs to become resistant to other antibiotics.
Many manufacturers have started phasing out their use of certain active ingredients in antibacterial washes in 2013. Not all of them have done so. Manufacturers will have until September 6, 2017, to remove those 19 ingredients from their products.
In addition the FDA is considering the safety and efficacy of three more three more ingredients: benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol. The new FDA rule does not affect hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes. It only effects antibacterial soaps.