The sale of antibacterial soaps to consumers has been banned – but we still have a long ways to go…
Last month, in a long-awaited victory for natural health enthusiasts and microbes alike, the FDA banned the sale of over-the-counter antibacterial soaps.
Manufacturers still have one year to end the sales of any “antibacterial washes” containing triclosan, triclocarban, and 17 other now-banned ingredients – or to reformulate their products without these ingredients.
As we in the natural health world (plus your grandma!) have known for years, washing with plain old soap and water is the most effective and least risky way to clean our hands (and our bodies).
However, we still have a ways to go, as the new rule targets only hand soaps and body washes for the general consumer. Healthcare providers are still permitted the use of these products, and numerous other products are currently still allowed to contain the antibacterial ingredients banned in soaps, including hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes.
Here is a bit more on the new ruling, and what else we need to do to curb the tide of antibiotic resistance:
The FDA’s news release includes reassurances and recommendations for people who are concerned about the loss of these antibacterial products. “Washing with plain soap and running water remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs to others. If soap and water are not available and a consumer uses hand sanitizer instead, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that it be an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.”
It is certainly good news that the overuse of antibacterial products is being curbed at the sink. But if you’ve followed along with our narrative about antibacterial resistance, you know that the average American sink is only the tip of the iceberg. Resistance has been found to be the most widespread at the hospital and on the farm – and any meaningful change will need to take place there.