“There isn’t enough science to show that over the counter (OTC) antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water… the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.”
Not all soaps are made equal, in the eyes of the FDA. Some, known as antibacterial or antimicrobial soaps, have additional contents that are not found in regular soap. These added chemicals are intended to reduce bacterial infection and spreading of germs.
Many soaps that are labeled ‘anti-bacterial’ contain the chemical, Triclosan, which has become a new concern for environmental and health agencies. As shown in many animal studies, Triclosan appears to affect hormone levels, posing the question; are anti-bacterial soaps safe for human use?
No additional data has been collected, proving that anti-bacterial soaps do not provide protection against disease and infection.
“If you use these products because you think they protect you more than soap and water, that’s not correct. If you use them because of how they feel, there are many other products that have similar formulations but won’t expose your family to unnecessary chemicals. And some manufacturers have begun to revise these products to remove these ingredients.”
Theresa M. Michele, MD, of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products
Unfortunately, Triclosan has been added to many consumer products (clothing, kitchenware, toys, toothpaste etc.) to prevent illness and the unnecessary spread of bacteria. Laboratory studies have demonstrated the possibility that this chemical is not only harmful to our health, but may contribute to why some bacteria appear to be resistant to antibiotics.
Last July, the University of Chicago found that triclosan “changed the microbiome inside human guts” and prolonged exposure to this chemical may damage developing fetuses. Another study, earlier this year, found that the repeat use of antibacterial soap products could also be contributing to antibiotic resistance. Interestingly enough, the study from 2015 found that antibacterial soaps were not more effective than regular soap and water.
18 Other Harmful Chemicals Recently Banned;
According to the FDA, 93% of all “antibacterial” and/or “antimicrobial” soaps contain one or more of these banned chemicals. May companies are starting to eliminate these ingredients from their products. The FDA still recommends washing hands with soap and water, as it remains the best practice to prevent the spreading of bacteria.
Antimicrobial soap researcher, Professor Patrick McNamara is glad these chemicals are off the market, as research shows, “there is no added benefit to having these antimicrobial chemicals in soaps”. He also stated, “…after these chemicals are used in our homes and businesses, they go down the drain to the wastewater treatment plants and eventually to the environment…”
Choose safer products for your home and workplace. Choose natural hand soaps and cleaners, free from harsh chemicals.