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30-Dec-13 8:00 AM  CST  

Are Antibacterial Soaps Really Safe? 

The FDA recently issued a proposed rule that would make manufacturers of antibacterial hand soap and body wash show and demonstrate that their products are safe for long-term use and even more effective than plain soap and water in the prevention of the spread of illnesses and infection.  As a result, companies that cannot prove antibacterial products are safe and effective would need to reformulate and remarket their soaps to meet the criteria.      

            One of the concerns has to do with issues over the active ingredients in many antibacterial products.  Many of these popular soaps include triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps).  Triclosan is also used in some acne treatments as well. 

             “Antibacterial soaps and body washes are used widely and frequently by consumers in everyday home, work, school, and public settings, where the risk of infection is relatively low,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., and Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).  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,” said Woodcock.   

            The proposed rule would not include antibac products used in healthcare settings such as hand sanitizers, wipes, and antibacterial items used in this particular work setting.  Do you think the proposed rule would have an impact somewhere down the line on pharmacies and the way pharmacy technicians sanitize their hands in the pharmaceutical setting?  




1.  Fischer, Andrea.  “FDA Issues Proposed Rule to Determine Safety and Effectiveness of Antibacterial Soaps.”  FDA.Gov.  Web.  Date of Access:  20 Dec 2013. 


2.  Capetta, Amy.  “Dear Germaphobes, Your Antibacterial Soap Might Be Completely Pointless.”  Web.  Date of Access:  20

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For additional information on this Article article, please contact:

Jennifer O'Reilly

Source: Jennifer S. O’Reilly for NPTA

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