Antibacterial Soaps: Are They Really Better For You?

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hand wash with antibacterial soapCold and flu seasons inevitably come year in and year out. And when they do, it’s always a good idea to stock up on everything that can help you kill germs and keep infection away. Over the years, using antibacterial soap around has become a popular resort for people looking to keep the flu virus at bay. But does it really work as advertised? According to the FDA in a recent proposed rule, it might not.

As it turns out, current regulation doesn’t require companies from providing substantial data that show the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. That’s right ­­ that more expensive germ­ killing compound you keep in the sink may or may not actually do its job as promised.At least, as far as the FDA is concerned.

As such, the new proposal. If implemented, antibacterial soap companies will need to provide detailed documentation proving the antibacterial agents in their products to actually prevent illness better. And, no, your friend Beth’s isolated anecdotal success story won’t suffice.

But, wait, it gets worse.

A recent FDA consumer report warned about the potential risks of the aggressive chemicals found in many popular antibacterial soaps. Apparently, some lab studies have shown that some of these chemicals specifically, triclosan and triclocarban, might serve as endocrine disruptors, basically wreaking havoc on the way your body’s hormones can fulfill their function. Additionally, the research posited that prolonged use of antibacterial agents may lead to antibiotic resistance ­­ not exactly the kind of thing you want to incur from something that’s supposed to merely be helping keep the flu away.

If these chemicals can really harm people as the report suggests, soaps can easily prove to be one of the most horrific delivery methods. You use soap to wash various parts of your body many times throughout the day, exposing you to the unsavory agents over and over. Definitely doesn’t sound healthy to me. Why single out antibacterial soaps? In large part, because ordinary soap is already intended to kill bacteria, as it is.

soap humuor

All soap kills germs ­­ that’s why they’re really good cleansing agents. Antibacterial soap merely gets additional antimicrobial chemicals that supposedly allow them to do the job a whole lot better. If the proposal is implemented, companies like Dial, Safeguard and Lysol will be required to show that not only are their products more effective at killing illness­ causing germs than regular soap, they’ll need to prove the products are safe for long ­term consumer use, too.

Link to the study cited for reference: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR­2013­12­17/pdf/2013­29814.pdf

Chief Kane
Loves to write about health subjects and currently taking care of health niche as a moderator. If you have any topic in mind, share it in comments and we will make sure it is published soon after a review.

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