FDA Questions Effectiveness Of Antibacterial Soaps - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

FDA Questions Effectiveness Of Antibacterial Soaps

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SALISBURY, Md. - Washing your hands. It's the simplest way to prevent spreading germs and illnesses, especially during cold and flu season.

But now, the FDA is questioning whether antibacterial soaps actually get the job done. Part of the mystery is the ingredient triclosan.

"It's shown to be an antibacterial and it's effective in getting rid of bacteria," said Craig Schury, pharmacist and owner of Pemberton Pharmacy. But he adds that particular bacteria was gingivitis.

"That's the one study that they can kind of point to and say it has had some effect on bacteria."
Nearly 75 percent of all antibacterial hand soaps and body washes sold in the U.S. contain triclosan, and the FDA wants manufactures to come clean about what it actually does.

"The FDA is saying 'prove it to us,'" Schury said. "If you're going to put this product in there, and it may cause bacterial resistance, things like that, prove it that it's actually effective."

The agency wants manufacturers to do just that - show that antibacterial soaps are better than soap and water. Among the agency's concerns are indications that certain ingredients may have unanticipated hormonal effects.

If companies can't show that their products are safe and effective, the soaps would have to be reformulated or relabeled to remain on the market. The rule wouldn't impact hand sanitizers, which are alcohol based and effective without water.

The government hopes to have the final rules in place by September 2016.

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