Is antibacterial soap bad for you? FDA proposes new rule

soap bubbles
The FDA wants manufacturers to prove that antibacterial soaps are more effective at killing bacteria than regular soap.
Credit: Flickr / The Italian Voice

The Food and Drug Administration proposed a new rule on Monday, stipulating that the makers of antibacterial soap must prove that their products are more effective than regular soap in warding off infection and bacteria, reports Reuters.

“Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water,” the FDA said in a statement.

According to the agency, antibacterial chemicals like triclosan may even be harmful in that consumers may receive hormonal side effects or allow bacteria to develop into drug-resistant organisms.

Dr. Brian S. Koll, medical director and chief of infection prevention at Beth Israel Medical Center, said there is no benefit to using antibacterial soap over regular soap. “What’s important when you wash your hands with regular soap and water is that you wash them correctly – that will not be any less effective than using an antibacterial soap with triclosan,” he said.

In spite of the possibility of developing drug-resistant organisms and side effects, Koll said there’s no need to panic and throw out your antibacterial soap. “I’m a big believer in data and I would work through the process that the FDA is advocating, where the companies that make these products can do a real study or share data they have regarding effectiveness and harm,” he said.

Koll added that most people are concerned about catching colds and other viruses – antibacterial soaps do not protect against these ailments anyway. Moreover, antibacterial soap must sit on the skin for two minutes in order for it to kill bacteria anyway, a step most people skip.

Koll recommends using regular soap and water if possible, though he also pointed out that most commercial soaps tend to be antibacterial.

The FDA’s new rule does not apply to alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which do not have the same side effects. Koll pointed out that the alcohol kills both bacteria and viruses.

Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Comments

1

  1. Great… It is not wise to use triclosan in your antibiotic soap as it is responsible to trigger bacteria-resistant (especially in case of MRSA). So go for an antibacterial soap that does not contain triclosan. :)