FDA Takes on Soap

    This Tuesday, April 30, 2013, photo, shows Dawn Ultra antibacterial soap in a kitchen Tuesday in Chicago. Federal health regulators are deciding whether triclosan, the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75 percent of anti-bacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the U.S. is harmful. The ruling, which will determine whether triclosan continues to be used in household cleaners, could have broader implications for a $1 billion industry that includes hundreds of anti-bacterial products from toothpaste to toys (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

    Kiichiro Sato/AP

    Better late than never. While the use of antibacterial hand soap and body wash is widespread in the U.S., the FDA proposed on Monday requiring manufacturers to prove the products are more effective than regular soap and water in terms of preventing germs, and that the use of the products does not have long-term consequences. "Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water,” said the agency. In addition, it pointed out that there is some research showing that long-term use can lead to bacterial resistance and hormonal effects. If finalized, the rule will not affect hand sanitizers, wipes, and other products used in hospitals and other health-care venues.

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