The FDA recently ruled that companies will have a year to take antibacterials out of their soap products. Soap has come a long way from serving the primarily purpose of washing and cleanliness. Fun and sparkly soaps are available everywhere from many favorite companies. Just last weekend my daughter wanted me to buy her sparkly glitter soap from our favorite body product mall store, Bath and Body Works. Not only do these colorful soaps smell divine, available in any fragrance imaginable, they also contain chemicals labeled as "antibacterial". The primary component Triclosan is used in 93 percent of antibacterial or antimicrobial liquid products, at least 2,000 different products according to the FDA. All that is about to change in the next year.
How Stuff Works explains that soap cleans using a combination of an acid and a base. The mixture causes a chemical reaction which forms a salt. One part of the soap molecule is water-binding and the other part is water-repellent, allowing you to easily scrub off dirt and grime. Ordinary soap effectively gets rid of bacteria using this process.
Antibacterial soap contains components such as Triclosan which needs to be left on the skin for about two minutes in order to work. Most people don't spend two minutes washing their hands and end up washing off the soap before the antibacterial ingredients can be effective.
The US Food and Drug Administration reveals that some short-term animal studies showed that exposure to high doses of Triclosan created a decrease in the levels of some thyroid hormones. The significance of those findings to human health is unknown. Some scientists suggest that bacteria may develop a resistance to antibacterial agents over time, and some bacteria actually benefit the human body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibacterial soaps are not necessary and aren't any more effective than washing your hands thoroughly with ordinary soap and warm water.
How does this buzz about antibacterial soaps effect your family? Soap making companies are now required by the FDA to change their soap ingredients and labels within the next year. According to NBC News, in 2013 FDA gave soapmakers a year to show that adding antibacterial chemicals did anything at all to help kill germs. It made the rule final Friday, stating "Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections," the FDA said in a statement.
NBC News reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave companies a year to take antibacterial ingredients out of their products. Antibacterial components include Triclosan and Triclocarban. Soap manufacturers will have an extra year to negotiate over other less commonly used ingredients such as Benzalkonium Chloride.
What are your favorite soaps and body products? Watch the labels in the next year, because it sounds like the soap ingredients and labels are about the change, and the antibacterial soap controversy (both positive and negative) is over.
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