FDA halts sale of some over-the-counter hand, body wash products



FDA halts sale of some over-the-counter hand, body wash products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday banned some over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body wash products, saying they are no more effective than soap and water and could cause long-term harm. The move affects 2,100 products, or roughly 40 percent of the over-the-counter antibacterial soap market, Dr. Theresa Michele, director of the FDA’s division of nonprescription drug products, told reporters on a conference call. The ruling does not affect alcohol-based hand sanitizers or antibacterial products used in hospitals and clinics. The agency said it is banning products that contain any one of 19 ingredients that have not been proven safe.

FDA spokeswoman Andrea Fischer and Brian Sansoni, of the American Cleaning Institute, which represents multiple cleaning products companies, were unable to identify the products most affected by Friday’s ruling. The ACI, whose members include Dial Corp., a unit of Germany’s Henkel, insists the products are effective.
The FDA had proposed banning the ingredients in 2013 unless companies could prove they were safe and effective, but was unsatisfied with the data.

“Clearly this is an industry that needed a good, swift kick in the triclosan. It took far too long,” said Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research organization.
Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble Co and Colgate-Palmolive Co have said they have either reformulated or are reformulating their products to delete the most common of the 19 ingredients, including triclosan and triclocarban.

I’ve always been leery of anti-bacterial soap with the claim “kills 99.9% of all bacteria!”. My reaction is that means the weakling are getting slaughtered leaving the superbugs free to breed.


The chemicals used might be anti bacterial in a Petri dish, but when diluted in real world hand washing, idk.

Besides, I think wet have an unhealthy obsession with being gen free. Many germs are slightly helpful or neutral. A few reduce chances are harmful germs simply by crowding out the bad ones before they can attach to you.


I buy my soap at a natural foods store. No tricloslan for me.


Oh, I hope this covers hand sanitizers. Our parish is big on them. Drives me nuts.


If the hand sanitizer requires water, then the new FDA policy may apply. However, many hand sanitizers are alcohol-based and do not use the antibiotics covered by the new FDA policy.

If a consumer wants to use a hand sanitizer product when soap and water isn’t available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

The 19 ingredients the FDA says can no longer be added to consumer “antibacterial” washes are:

Iodophors (Iodine-containing ingredients)
Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
Poloxamer–iodine complex o 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 only soap I use is good old carbolic.

Other products have to be unperfumed and as few and as little used as possible

Some of the frantic hand washing I see in public bathrooms reminds me of Lady Macbeth


I don’t know, after some of the public bathrooms I’ve been in, I do want to scrub my hands like Lady Macbeth. :wink:

But regular old soap and warm water is fine for me.


One of my favorite authors, Debbie Macomber, suggests you say a Hail Mary while soaping, then rinse under warm water while saying another Hail Mary. Two benefits, you are praying, and you will be following health guidelines for killing germs and bacteria.


Well, they have the same problem with prescription antibiotics, eventually every one of them will be useless, but they do not think about or worry until its too late. I found back when I had numerous dental infections, it was extremely easy to get a prescription and multiple refills for powerful antibiotics!

The same thing here, I bet I can go to the drug store and find hundreds of soaps and sanitizing lotions that are antibacterial, people can buy as much as they want!


Fortunately, the alcohol-based cleaners are safe. Tho they can dry the skin & most (IMO) smell pretty bad.


How are they not safe? Is it that they simply haven’t been tested? Is it the anti-bacterial aspects they don’t like? If it’s no more effective than soap and water, like it said in the article, then how are they causing problems? Frankly, I kind of thought that’s what hand-soap was supposed to be. There are gaps in the article.


Well waking your hands after going to the bathroom is kind of good practice. . . . right?


The antibacterial chemicals don’t kill 100% of the bacteria. Over time they cause the bacteria to evolve & become resistant. Alcohol doesn’t kill 100% either, but it doesn’t cause resistance.


Some of the chemicals listed interfere with the production of estrogen and testosterone, and can lower fertility. Also widespread use promotes the development of anti-bacterial resistant bacteria.


I oppose the FDA but I also oppose the supposed antibacterial products being banned. I refuse to personally use them. If I see a product so labeled I will not use it. I’ve heard that all you are doing is getting rid of the less harmful bacteria and allowing more harmful ones a chance at taking over. That certainly makes sense to me.

My understanding is that what happens is not really evolution. What happens is that the bacteria already contain genetics to not be sensitive to the antibacterial chemical. Over time the bacteria you end up with are ones that had a genetic combination not to be sensitive to the antibiotic.


Evolution. Mutation. :shrug:

You have a different word?


Seems my school will be switching hand sanitizer.


Yes, much better to just encourage people to use plain soap and wash for 30 seconds. Too many just give their hands a quick rinse.


The point is the bacteria don’t develop new genetics in response to the environment. Information isn’t added to their genetics. Nothing was created.


Nitpicking. The bacteria become resistant to antibacterials - doesn’t matter much what you call it.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.