Antibacterial=Safe Soap? Maybe Not So Much

Guess what?  Those antibacterial soaps we use so much -- and feel so safe about?  Maybe not so much.

The Food and Drug Administration says there is no evidence that antibacterial chemicals used in liquid soaps and washes help prevent the spread of germs, and there is some evidence they may pose health risks, according to The Washington Post.

The agency said it is revisiting the safety of chemicals like triclosan in light of recent studies suggesting they can interfere with hormone levels and spur the growth of drug-resistant bacteria, the  AP reports.
In fact, the very chemicals supposed to prevent us from getting sick may actually make us sick. 
The AP notes that, under its proposed rule released Monday, the agency will require manufacturers to prove that their antibacterial soaps and body washes are safe and more effective than plain soap and water. If companies cannot demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of their products, they would have to be reformulated, relabeled or possibly removed from the market. The agency will take comments on its proposal before finalizing it in coming months.
“Due to consumers’ extensive exposure to the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, we believe there should be a clearly demonstrated benefit from using antibacterial soap to balance any potential risk,” the AP quotes Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s drug center.
Most of the research surrounding triclosan’s safety involves animal studies, which cannot always be applied to humans, the AP notes. "But some scientists worry the chemical can disrupt hormones in humans too, raising the risk of infertility, early puberty and other developmental problems. Other experts are concerned that routine use of antibacterial chemicals like triclosan is contributing to a surge in drug-resistant germs, or superbugs, that render antibiotics ineffective," the AP adds..

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