Lather up now, germophobes: FDA readies limits on antibacterial soap
[LEFT]The makers of antibacterial soaps and bodywashes will have to demonstrate that their products are safe, effective, and prevent the spread of illness better than good old-fashioned soap and water, or they'll have to conform to new rules, the Food & Drug Administration said Monday.
Just days after unveiling new proposals to limit the use of antibiotic medications in livestock raised for human consumption, the FDA's new measure takes aim at soaps suspected of promoting the development of bacteria resistant to eradication and of exposing consumers to hormone- disrupting chemicals.
If the products are not shown to be safe, effective and superior to soap and water in preventing disease spread, the FDA said manufacturers will be required to reformulate or relabel them as a condition of continued sale. The new rule, which will be open for public comment for 180 days and then subject to a 60-day rebuttal period, would not affect such products as hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes and antibacterial products used in healthcare settings.
In announcing its latest effort to limit the use of bacteria-fighting products, the FDA is focusing largely on triclosan (used in liquid soaps) and triclocarban (used in bar soaps, including many deodorant soaps). In animals, exposure to high concentrations of these compounds has been found to suppress thyroid hormone concentrations and to have estrogenic effects, including premature puberty in females and low sperm count in males. As the chemicals have been found in human breast milk, urine and blood, there is growing concern that the product's widespread use may affect human health as well.
Just as I've always suspected (though I didn't know about the hormonal issues). There's a rather Monk-ish woman at work and I argue with her that using Purel which supposedly kills 99.9% of bacteria just kills the weakling and leaves the strong ones to prosper. Besides, cold, flu &c are caused by viruses not bacteria which are ubtouched by antibacterial soaps and hand sanitisers.
Good old soap & water for me.
See this cartoon from XKCD.